I was recently talking with a friend of mine.
His first wife had passed away about the same time my first wife passed away. We have both since remarried.
I mentioned to him that I have had to learn a whole new dictionary. He agreed!
Words I thought spoke truth – don’t! My wife and I have been renovating a house. As we were gutting the inside of the house, I would look up and say “roof”. She would say “ceiling”. She’s right! Imagine subcontractors removing our roof instead of the ceiling. Better hope it doesn’t rain!
We, as citizens of Canada, are married to each other under our constitution. We are not the people we used to be – as much as we might look back with fondness. We are under a diverse, multicultural, pluralistic regime.
A top priority in a diverse and pluralistic Canada is to learn each other’s dictionaries. Time has come to open up our dictionaries to each other – without compromising or being politically correct. At the same time we must listen with respect.
Let me start with a “Christian dictionary” definition of Easter. A half century ago, in Canada, you could assume people knew the reason for the Easter season. That culture has changed.
The words I use can be referenced in the writings of the Christian Bible. I will point out some general references where you can find these thoughts in the Bible – there are many more particular references that could be used. I ask the forgiveness of Christians – who will say I have missed some valuable references and made this far too simplistic.
There is only one God, seen by humans from our finite vantage point as three persons (Genesis 1, Matthew 28:19, 2 Corinthians 3:14). At Christmas, God becomes a human – the creator becomes one with us, and is called Jesus (Matthew 1:20- 23, Colossians 2:9). At Good Friday, Jesus dies (Philippians 2:5-8).
Easter Sunday speaks of Jesus’ bodily resurrection – the power of God demolishes the barrier of physical death (I Corinthians 15:3-4). With death out of the way, there can be true life – now and into eternity (John 10:10). The way into this life is through Jesus (John 14:6).
His life, death, resurrection and ascension to heaven is very specific in intent – to provide forgiveness for our own shortcomings and intentional disputes against God (Matthew 26:28, Romans 3:23, 6:23), while providing the Spirit of God to those who believe in what Jesus has done (John 16:7-14).
You may find your own cultural definitions contradict these Christian definitions. You may be alright with that. OR, you may be driven back to your own dictionary to see if these words are true. OR, you may find you need to change your definitions.
The one thing you can do?
Expect to live, and love your neighbours, by opening each others’ dictionaries!
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