the year we ditched Easter

"Well, there's the Easter bunny," Andy said as we emerged from the Cactus Hill motel, and a little rabbit sat in the gravel driveway, looking at us.

Neither of us ever remembers missing an Easter Sunday service before in our lives.  But this year we did.  We wanted to visit all the National Parks in Utah that weekend, so we just took off and did it.

I had hoped to be at Delicate Arch for Easter sunrise, having some deep spiritual experience, but the drive had proven too much for us the night before.  

It was one of those moments to let go of hopes or expectations, let the little seed fall, and just see what came up.  

So we figured we'd just enjoy the drive and whatever hikes happened, whenever they happened, and not worry about Easter spirituality so much.

I did, however, put on The Brilliance on shuffle as the soundtrack for our drive.

A couple of miles into our drive, Night Has Passed began to play.

"Night has passed, and the day lies open before us," the song says.  And then, "We rejoice in the gift of this day."

And the sun began to come up over the horizon.  

So we drove and we sang and I cried at the beauty of it all, and I said, "Who needs Delicate Arch anyway?  This is perfection."

We came to an overlook, where we stopped to take this photo.

As we returned to the car, shuffle brought up what's turned out to be my theme song of the past few months: See The Love.

"I want to see, I want to see the Love, all around you, all around you; I want to know, I want to know the Love that's all around you."

So I had to dance.

There on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere Utah, just the two of us, we experienced "the relentless circle of affection" that Paul Young talks about.

Love doesn't have anything to do with where we are, geographically.  

Love has nothing to do with what we've done or left undone.

Love is not about us.

Love is.

Present everywhere.


And on Easter, more than any other day, we should know that this is true and can be trusted.

We might ditch Easter.

But Easter won't ditch us.

It won't.

It can't.

It never, ever will.

This is our deepest and truest reality: nothing can separate us from Love.  

Life, death, things present, things past, angels, demons--nothing.

And if we are deeply, truly connected to that Love, if it's the vine and we're the branches, Love constantly flowing through us, as an integral part of our true Selves, then Love is not something we need to hoard. 

Love is not a way of life we have to defend in endless culture wars.  

Love is, instead, "a life we enter, a Love we share, the ground in which we are rooted" (John Shelby Spong) and something we can give away, freely and fully, knowing that we'll be endlessly filled as we empty ourselves.

This is the story of Easter: 

Let all the seeds fall, and watch new life grow.

Empty completely, and be filled totally.

Open, bloom, shine, light the darkness.

Love is.

And where Love is, fear is not.

Make me an instrument of Your peace
Where there is hatred let me sow love
Where there is darkness let me shine light and
May Your love cause us to open up
Cause us to open up our hearts
May Your light cause us to shine so bright
That we bring hope into the dark

All that we do without love
It means nothing
Grant us the courage to give
As You’re calling

Hope for the hopeless, Your love is
Strength in our weakness, Your love is
May we love, as You love
Hope for the hopeless, Your love is
Strength in our weakness, Your love is
May we love, as You love
(As only You can love, oh God)
May we love, as You love

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