By Anthony L Hall
I grew up the son of a preacher man. One of the things I found most dispiriting about this 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, by the time I was ten, my mind, body, and soul had become inured to “inspired” sermons from the pulpit, all of which I could parrot (almost verbatim) from my church pew. Only the wife of a vainglorious politician could possibly relate.
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 will 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.
This brings me to the essence of my Good Friday sermon. I address it particularly 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 it seemed only the souls of mischievous children, not those of sinful adults, needed 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!
That said, 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 today. 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)
Given the above, it would probably surprise none of you to learn that the elders of my church damned me to Hell for being a “backsliding reprobate” long ago. But this had more to do with the Pharisaic standards that govern conduct in most churches than any unpardonable sin I may have committed.
Indeed, 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!