Happy Easter Sunday, one and all!!
It is with great pleasure that I conclude my Lenten 40 list today. It was a self-imposed challenge that accomplished exactly what I wanted it to accomplish... to honor 40 people, some known to only a few, and others known to the world, who are deserving of my respect, admiration and compassion, for reasons that go far beyond the fact that they are merely (in some cases) famous.
I lost "friends" over the fact that I was not (in their eyes) suitably mournful and sympathetic over the death of Whitney Houston. In my mind, those who were so caught up in her drama, and were willing to chastise me for my lack of shock and horror over one of the most predictible outcomes in druggie history, are people who I can certainly do without in my life. It was suggested that I didn't know what I was talking about because I "didn't walk a mile in her shoes". Maybe that's because I had enough character and self-control and valued my life enough that I wasn't going to get trapped in the self-indulgent garbage in which she wallowed.
Once I finished writing each of these Lenten 40 posts, the litmus test for me was were they "Whitney WHO???" -worthy. Were these people notable and worthy of respect for genuinely significant reasons? In my opinion, yes, they were. Each and every one.
And that certainly applies to this Man who, of course, I saved for last, and for today.
Jesus Christ is the Son of God, born in Bethlehem in the year 1, to the Virgin Mary and her betrothed, Joseph. There was no room in the inn.... I trust you know the rest.
(Reading Wikipedia, it is amazing to me how many theologian / historian / scientists have tried, over the past two millenia, to determine his exact date of birth and death. I am planning on keeping it simple. He was born on Christmas Day. Sir Isaac Newton figured out the day of death was Friday, April 3rd, 33 A.D. I can work with that.)
Even though His first foray into teaching the masses (pun intended) was as a child in the temple, the majority of His ministry actually happened during the last 3 years of His life.
He journeyed throughout Judea and Galilee, performing miracles, and teaching about His Father and the path to Heaven.
Basically, what He was saying was that we need to love God, and to love our neighbours as we love ourselves. For THIS He was crucified.
It is difficult to grasp how threatening that concept was, in that era. He taught that the only King that mattered was His Father. He feared no law of man. That did not imply lawlessness; it implied that in order to achieve everlasting life, one must follow the Word of God.
Fortunately for us Christians, it's not like the Word of God was telling people to fly jets into skyscrapers in His name...
No. The Word of God was telling people that we should be kind to one another. Not murder each other, nor steal from one another. Honor thy mother and thy father. And fear God.
I think that more often than not, most people try to be kind to one another. But, I really have to wonder, in this day and age, if people really fear God the way we're supposed to. We all, at one time or another, say, "God has no expectation that I do this, or don't do that." Hmmm... I hope I'm right when I profess those assumptions! We're here for a short time, but Eternity is forever.
So, amid all the miracles and parables and teaching, when He was really hitting His stride, Judas Iscariot betrayed Him for 30 pieces of silver, and to make a long story short, Jesus fulfilled God's will by being crucified and dying for our sins.
But, what separated Jesus from all the other prophets was what happened three days later. He rose from the dead and ascended into Heaven, assuring us all everlasting life.
We mark that event today, on Easter Sunday.
God knows I'm no theologian. I am hardly one who can expound in any deep, meaningful way about the effect Jesus' life, death and resurrection has had on mankind. All I know is the profound effect it has had on my life.
As I wrote last year in another blog post about Easter...
Santa gives us presents. The Easter Bunny gives us eggs. Jesus gave His life so that we may have everlasting life. Jesus wins.
To bring this to a close, here is something I hope you will enjoy. The following are two video clips sent to me by a friend, Rhonda, who thought - rightly - that I would appreciate them. The first is a preview of an Imax film about Jerusalem. The second is about an artist's rendition of Jesus rising from the dead, amid the spirits of other Biblical figures. They both are amazing, and I hope you will think so too.
Happy Easter!!! And thanks for coming along on my Lenten 40 ride. I hope it's given you food for thought about those who inspire and move you.