As I visit the local Safeway store, I have been noticing a ‘mountain’ of Easter bunnies and Easter chocolates. Everyone loves to celebrate. Everyone wants something to look forward to. As I visit our neighbourhood Library and look at the countless Easter children’s book, I am reminded how much fun that people of all ages have at Easter. Sometimes Easter feels like a fun party in which we have forgotten to invite Easter’s most special guest.
We live in an increasingly private, individualistic culture when even Easter and Christmas become privatized and stripped of their fuller meanings. As Canadians, we are often so afraid of offending others that most spirituality is shoved into the closet. For many of us nowadays, the only time that we hear the ‘J’ word even at Easter is when someone has stubbed their toe or lost their temper. It reminds me of the bumper-sticker, which says: ‘God’s last name isn’t Dammit’.
I have noticed that most swearing seems devoted to two main topics: spirituality and sexuality. Both spirituality and sexuality are very potent wells of emotion and unmet expectations. I have also noticed that I rarely, if ever, hear joyful swearing. Rather it usually is connected with anger and frustration about one’s co-workers, government, or family. Sexual and spiritual swearing virtually always seems to express direct or indirect anger towards one’s sexuality or spirituality. The most potent forms of pornography seem to draw on these three sources of sexuality, spirituality, and violence. The worst of the current video games aimed at our teens draw heavily on each of these three sources. Perhaps a beginning step in breaking an addiction to pornography or video game mayhem is to ask ourselves just whom we are really angry at.
This Easter, I invite you to discover for yourself what really makes Easter tick, to discover for yourself Jesus Christ as more than a swear word, as more than an outdated story, as more than a hobby for religious people. My prayer is that the ‘J’ word may become life-giving to you in this Easter season of Resurrection life.
Rector, St. Simon's Church North Vancouver
Easter Eggs and Easter Stories