Easter Sunday was a beautiful day. It was also Sophie’s birthday. She is now one year old. I decided to take her on a walk at Bond Park here in Cary. It is one of our favorite places to walk and practice her training regimens. We walked about four miles including the two-mile Lake Trail that circles Bond Lake.
As we walked, enjoying the sunshine and friendly passers-by (Sophie always garners plenty of attention), I began to ponder the Easter holiday and what it means to me. Beside eating jelly beans, I mean!
I am not sure what sparked it.
Perhaps it was the recent bit in the news about some Muslim guy claiming that Jesus was never crucified. I have heard claims such as this before. I have heard some argue that there is no proof that Jesus ever even existed … outside from the Bible, of course. From what I see, most of the people who make this claim never looked outside the Bible … or anywhere else for that matter!
For those who do dig a little deeper, you can find evidence from non-Christian sources that help point to who Jesus was and what happened to him. This is often held up as proof that he existed and was indeed crucified. Much of Lee Strobel’s book, The Case for Christ, was based on evidence of this type. This non-Christian evidence is often written by those who were hostile toward the early Christians, which makes it an interesting spin on things … at least to me. And, I have looked at much of it. There are records from Roman era historians such as Tacitus, Pliny the Younger, or Flavius Jospehus, who are often ridiculing those early Christians and their crazy Messianic leader.
Then there are those who like to argue that these Roman historians are all liars, or that somehow their works are all some kind of forgeries … they must be part of some kind of ancient right-wing pro-Christian conspiracy I guess! I must admit it … I find this claim by those people even more fascinating.
Anyway, we continued on our walk and enjoying the beautiful day. I was busy watching Sophie enjoy all the sights and smells and chasing after bumble bees, when I suddenly decided none of that really mattered much to me. What really matters is what you believe, and I do believe that one of Jesus’ primary teachings,
Love your neighbor as yourself,
is simply a pretty darn good rule to live by. Jesus stated this very same concept several times and in several different ways throughout his journey toward his death.
To me, arguing over whether Jesus was actually the Son of God or not, or whether he was crucified or not … does not in anyway make this basic concept any less profound.
This is not a statement of faith for me. My faith is very personal. I am not very evangelical. I will discuss my beliefs with a certain few people, but I will not argue about it with anyone. I know what I believe. You can believe what you want to believe.
But, it does seem to me that if more people followed this simple “golden” rule, life would be much better for many of us!
I remember going to a J.C. Penny Golden Rule Award ceremony some years ago (during the mid-1990’s) in Knoxville, Tennessee when I was working as an Anderson County CASA volunteer. It seems this same “Golden Rule” can be found, perhaps worded a bit differently, in every major world religion: Christianity, Buddhism, Judaism, Confucianism, Hinduism, Zoroastrianism (and Commonsenseism … kidding here). I found that to be really fascinating at the time. A guest speaker read each version and stated the religion in which that version was based.
I also got to meet Jack Hanna there. That was pretty cool to!
So, anyway, Happy Easter to you all … from me and Sophie!