Easter is a beautiful but strange time.
As we say goodbye and thanks to the daffodils, the cherry blossoms come and take our breath away with their “outrageous clothes” as John Spillane describes them.
And, irrespective of how many years we have experienced them, the longer evenings and greening of everything still surprises us.
But this is Spring, not Easter!
Easter is strange.
While it’s understandably supposed to be the greatest feast of the Christian calendar, it comes a very poor second to Christmas.
And then it’s all about the Cross, the crucifixion, death and all that… and, yeah, okay, the Resurrection – whatever that means.
And why get into all that? Isn’t there enough bad news going around anyway? It makes no sense.
Road to Damascus
Not only does it make no sense to us but it made no sense over two thousand years ago either.
St Paul said the Cross was bad news for the Jews and just plain stupid for the Greeks.
So you can understand why forgetting all that and focusing more on Easter bunnies and on Easter eggs, nice things, is easier than listening to what he had to say.
But, could it be that our not listening to what he had to say is what is giving the road to Damascus a horrible and terrible new meaning?
Maybe sometimes we have to do things that do appear stupid for the Greeks or for ‘business’!
Maybe we have to listen, not so much to St Paul, as to what our hearts are saying to us deep down.
I am heartened by the examples I come across of “stupid” behaviour by managers and some companies.
It has to be “stupid” for Amazon to replace a product I bought in error and tell me to keep the original one.
It has to be “stupid” for a manager to find a slot for somebody who is just not working out.
It had to be “stupid” for Steve Jobs to insist on beautiful screws and beautiful boxes for his Apple products which only added cost. And there were many who told him just that. “Stupid…makes no sense.”
These kinds of behaviours do appear “stupid” on the surface, at one level, and make great sense and work at a different level.
Obvious as they may be in hindsight, at the time they can look stupid because they do involve a kind of death to things that we think important, very often superficial things, but things that are difficult to abandon nonetheless.
When you stay at the superficial and artificial level of what makes sense financially, you run the risk of looking pretty “stupid” at other levels as United Airways now know very well.
But, at the time the decision did make sense. It was Company Policy and so good for business.
But what if we got in touch with this apparently foolish and stupid way of thinking and behaving that St Paul talked about all the time?
What if we put our faith in always doing what is right, whatever the cost?
What if we always got in touch with what our hearts are saying to us and let this affect our decisions, irrespective of how “stupid” they might appear on the surface or to others?
Worth thinking about? Worth taking into account?
St Paul thought so. After his encounter, not with ISIS nor U.S. marines, but with something else on that road to Damascus, he travelled over 8000 miles begging people to get in touch with what their hearts were telling them. And that was before the days of United Airways, Ryanair and motorised camels.
It would be a pity if we fail to see the connection between the surprises, the outbursts of Spring and the message of life from death and Easter.
Why not let Spring and Easter live in us….live us?