By Anthony L Hall
One of the things I found most dispiriting about growing up the son of a preacher man was having to listen to the same sermon over and over again, knowing full well that my Daddy expected me to be moved by the Holy Spirit anew each time.
Anthony L. Hall is a Bahamian who descends from the Turks and Caicos Islands. He is an international lawyer and political consultant - headquartered in Washington DC - who also publishes a current events weblog, The iPINIONS Journal, at http://ipjn.com
In fact, only the wife of a vainglorious politician could possibly appreciate how inured my mind, to say nothing of my soul, had become (by the time I was 10) to “inspired” sermons from the pulpit that I could parrot (almost verbatim) from my church pew.
Yet I never grew tired of the rituals that attended the Easter season. Indeed, I could never disguise the spirit of suspended animation that got me through it all -- even as others affected the countenance each occasion warranted (i.e., by being appropriately maudlin on Good Friday to mourn the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, and joyous on Easter Sunday to celebrate his resurrection).
Never mind that my animated countenance was due entirely to the anticipation of what fun Easter Monday would bring -- as the first beach holiday of the year in the Commonwealth Caribbean.
But oh the guilt I suffered for supplanting religious pathos with this hedonistic inspiration during Christianity’s holiest days!
Thank God I deduced before my puberty was in full bloom that He would forgive me -- not only for my sinful thoughts, but also for the diabolical pleasure I derived from playing one of the soldiers who flogged Jesus Christ (as he crawled his way to Golgotha) in the passion plays our Church performed every Easter.
Therefore, here’s my own Good Friday Sermon, which I address especially to those Christian parents who will force their children to abide church services throughout this weekend just as my parents forced me to do when I was a child:
God will forgive the little ones for not getting all worked up each year for the scripted homage to His son’s crucifixion and resurrection.
He will even forgive them for not writhing with the Holy Spirit on cue at revivals, at which, as I recall, only the souls of mischievous children, not those of sinful adults, seemed in need of salvation.
Moreover, He will not ruin their lives if the only spirit that moves them at Easter time is the one they hope will get them to the beach on Easter Monday; trust me!
However, if you really must wallow in the macabre passions of the season, I suggest you buy the DVD of Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ and watch it tonight. Because, more than any Easter homily or play, this movie will evoke the funereal emotions and convey (in refreshing and entertaining fashion) the expiatory significance of these familiar words:
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.
(The Holy Bible, John 3:16)
With that, and given the Pharisaic standards that govern conduct in most churches, it will probably surprise none of you that the elders of my church damned me to Hell long ago for being a “backsliding reprobate.”
Nevertheless, I believe it is duly recorded on God’s Heavenly scroll that I am more spiritual, and live a more Christ-like life, than almost all of the tartuffes who bored me to distraction with their sermons in my youth!