Autumn, in Western Australia, is my favourite time of year. The light, the mild sunny days and that sweet melancholic feeling that comes with the approaching winter…
Which brings me to Easter. Whether you are a Christian, or not, it’s widely accepted that this is the time of year when much of the world celebrates the life and death of Jesus Christ. Irrespective of your perspective, it is well documented that He WAS alive, was tortured, beaten and nailed to a cross. Does this sound familiar at all?
Out of this particular bit of human brutality, I cannot erase the picture of Jesus’ mother, Mary, witnessing her son dying. As any parent will understand, there would be nothing more excruciating than having to bear this. Even as I type, how many parents are enduring a comparable agony right now?
The crucifixion brings me to tears and it always will. It’s when hate interfaces with love and LOVE WINS! It’s not about your religion, nor even faith – and I respect that you may have none, or a different one. This is about selfless, pure love!
What Jesus did is remarkable – but what is equally remarkable is that throughout human history, ordinary everyday folk have given up their lives for their each other.
I once came across ‘The Memorial to Heroic Self Sacrifice’, which is a public monument instigated by a now forgotten artist called George Watts. The memorial tells the stories of acts of heroism, such as:
- Elizabeth Boxall, aged 17 of Bethnal Green, who died of injuries received in trying to save a child from a runaway horse. (June 20, 1888)
- Alice Ayres, daughter of a bricklayer’s labourer, who by intrepid conduct saved 3 children from a burning house in Union Street Borough at the cost of her own young life. (Dec 13, 1905)
- Herbert Maconoghu, a schoolboy from Wimbledon aged 13. His parents being absent in India, who lost his life in vainly trying to rescue his two school fellows who were drowned at Glovers Pool, North Devon. (August 28, 1882)
We have all heard of ‘Schlindler’s List’ but have you heard of ‘Sendler’s List?’ A young woman called Irena, who smuggled more than 2,500 Jewish children out of the Warsaw Ghetto, where she was employed as a plumbing/sewer worker. The Nazis broke her arms and legs for her trouble. There are many, many modern-day equivalents from every culture and I wish I had the space to honour them all.
The VERY opposite of these noble actions are those generated from hatred and ignorance. For example, extremists, who murder innocent people in the name of their religion, or politics. Pilot Lubitz may have suffered from depression, but he also possessed something much more malevolent and controlling – a deep hatred aimed squarely at his fellow man, woman and child.*
Which brings me back to Love, and the power of it. If you think about it, it’s an incredible, transcendent force. (I was going to call it a ‘weapon’ but it isn’t, because a weapon seeks to harm.) The amazing thing about love is, is that it is invisible, it is an energy, it is a feeling no one else can control, and it remains steadfastly lodged in the human heart.
It may seem, on the face of it, that evil, fear and hatred appear to win. But even if you are raping a woman, hacking off a child’s head, burning a soldier alive, crucifying a man, or doing any other unspeakable act…you cannot remove ‘love’ from your victim, or from the human equation generally. Love goes on and on, through the generations and it’s unstoppable.
Just as Christmas should not be about gifts; Easter should not be about chocolate eggs.
Be encouraged! Love is out there, and ordinary people from all over the world demonstrate it every day in a million different ways. Let’s pay it forward 🙂
* As an afterthought, I hope this does not lead to a generalised prejudice that sufferers of depression are any more likely to undertake sociopathic acts, than any other members of the population.