I had a wonderful friend, Linda, who passed away just a few months after my husband died. One of the things I loved about her was that she’d keep wishing me a happy Easter long after the day itself had passed. She knew that the church celebrated the Resurrection for seven weeks, until Pentecost. So, four days on, “Happy Easter.”
I didn’t read the Sunday New York Times on Easter. Truth be told, I don’t often finish it until the day before the next edition will be delivered. So, yesterday I finally read the Sunday opinion piece on humility. It became the Easter homily I needed. The author, Peter Wehner, had asked an atheist friend what Christians could contribute to public life. The one-word answer was humility.
When I’m feeling flip, I often summarize the New Testament as God, frustrated because human beings don’t seem to understand the Old Testament, deciding to draw us a picture instead. Jesus is the perfect illustration of humility, faith, love and all the other qualities God probably wished we learned sooner. But even with a picture, we are often blind.
Wahner writes that Christians should “be alert first and foremost to their own shortcomings -- to the awareness of how wayward our own hearts are, how even good acts are often tainted by selfish motives, how we all struggle with brokenness in our lives. This is not an argument for self-loathing; it’s an argument for self-awareness.”
And he goes on to write this: “Humility believes there is such a thing as collective wisdom and that we’re better off if we have within our orbit people who see the world somewhat differently than we do. . . . It means we have to venture out of our philosophical and theological cul-de-sacs from time to time.”
And he concludes: “The cross made the resurrection possible; humility prepared the way for hope.”
That’s my Easter wish, for me and for all of us: That we glimpse again God’s picture and try to reflect it in our own lives.