I spent a few years of my adolescence attending a private Christian school.
I will never forget one year, during the week leading up to Easter, our bible teacher walked into class with barbells on his back- screaming in pain- to demonstrate the walk the Jesus took carrying the cross.
The image is cemented into my brain. So was the message….that Jesus endured all of that for me. I felt deep shame and unworthiness of such a sacrifice.
Following that intensity - I remember attending church that weekend and receiving a different message: one of hope and forgiveness and new beginnings.
I was a bit confused.
Then we went to brunch and looked for Easter eggs.
Thirty years later I’m able to see how religion shaped my childhood.
How church youth group probably saved my life in middle school.
A part of me wanted to die.
And a bigger part of me wanted to be saved, to be seen, to be understood.
But here is the thing…
My interpretation of the Christian religion also bore a hole in my heart that I was still not worthy, as I was, of God’s love.
Mostly because I didn’t fit the mold. I didn’t follow all the rules.
Especially the rules for women…
As an adult woman and a mom - I realize now that the story of Jesus might actually be a different one than the one I learned and feared…
That maybe it wasn’t about highlighting how unworthy we are.
Maybe it was the opposite.
Maybe his message was to highlight how incredibly WORTHY we are of love and acceptance for being exactly who we are AND that God’s love is reflected when we can see that worthiness in others.
So this weekend, I will enjoy our annual tradition of welcoming spring, hiding eggs for the kids in our community, sharing special traditions with friends, and remembering what Good Friday and Easter represent for me:
That we are all SO incredibly worthy of love, forgiveness, and new beginnings.
I wish you a beautiful weekend.