I was reading a post on a much-loved blog this morning (you can read the post here), and it opened my eyes to a lesson many people seem to overlook when it comes to Lent, and Easter.
I have to admit, like every other Christian, before today my attention was completely captured by what Christ did for me by dying on the cross. Indeed, this is undoubtedly the central focus of the Easter story, but even while we commiserate and appreciate His sacrifice, there are other stories surrounding Jesus’ personal story, which could teach us a thing or two relevant in life as we know it today.
Case in point, Mary’s story. Mary the mother of Jesus, I mean. When I think about all the emotions Mary must have felt in connection with Jesus; from her trepidation and shame at the pregnancy, to her piety in accepting her condition, her fear when Jesus aroused so much jealousy amongst the Pharisees and the rulers of the land, and her pride when he was loved and followed by many; this heightens my perception of the sorrow and despair she must have felt, during Jesus’ last days. To see your son, a miracle child, beaten and killed by the very persons he tried to save, to be helpless to shield him from pain and shame, to have to trust God even when you don’t understand what He is up to…these are circumstances which will try any human being
As human beings, it is our natural instinct to shield those we love from pain – to think about our needs first and the needs of others later. It is unthinkable to many of us to allow ourselves and our loved ones suffer, and be hurt, for a ‘greater good’, particularly when that good favours those we don’t know, or those who hate us – but I would like to think when God puts a burden in your heart, He gives you the fortitude to bear it. When He asks us to love our neighbours as we love ourselves, He expects us to do just that. To make sacrifices for each other. To go the extra mile to help a person in need. To take a step back sometimes, so that a needy person can take a step forward. Basically, to put aside our own (sometimes) selfish desires, for the good of another.
So, as I celebrate this Easter, that is what I want to focus on. Seflessness, as opposed to selfishness. Humility, as opposed to pride. The ability to show compassion, commiseration, empathy – the strength of character, to put others before myself. This I believe, is another, very important and often neglected lesson, which we can all draw inspiration from during this season.