Gracie Bonds Staples: Why Easter is a good time to mend our hurts, habits, hang-ups

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Last week while mulling the global crisis that has beset us, I was struck by a seemingly unrelated headline: It’s A Great Time To Learn How To Mend Your Clothes.

Mending, the writer said, is a way of repairing clothes that have holes, stains or other signs of wear to make them more useful and beautiful.

Having grown up in a time when home economics was still considered not just useful but necessary, I already knew that, but as a writer, I understand the need to explain.

We don’t all start at the same place.

She went on to say that mending is about using what you have, embracing imperfections, and fixing what’s broken. … It’s meditative, slow work. It’s productive and deeply satisfying.

There was much more but it occurred to me, seeing that we’re passing now through Holy Week to Easter Sunday, that this is indeed the perfect season for mending.

Mending ourselves. Mending broken hearts. Mending relationships.

If there was ever a time when we needed healing, when we needed deliverance from what ails us, we sho’nuff need it now.

Given everything that is wrong in the world, that COVID-19 has confirmed for some and exposed to others — the widening chasm in the U.S. between rich and poor, for instance — it would be easy to pile on more misery.

But this being the Easter season, I’m reminded that the Gospel message is profoundly good news, that in Christ, even the lowly and downtrodden can triumph over evil.

What does that have to do with the Easter story, with mending?

In my view, everything.

Many Christians believe the essential message of Easter is Jesus’ substitutionary death for our sins. In other words, forgiveness. But forgiveness was also available in the Old Covenant, through the sacrifice of an animal without blemish in the place of the sinner.

Easter, I submit, is about much more than just forgiveness. It means that we too can live a resurrected life. That isn’t just me talking, that’s what 2 Corinthians 5:17 tells us: “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”

Like sewing, that takes time and as it were some social distancing.

Learning the heart of God demands setting aside time and space to do so, slowing down and reflecting on both him and who we are, and more precisely the parts of our lives that need mending, whether it be our hurts, our habits or our hang-ups.

The good news is you don’t have to do that alone. Just as our clothing is made with hands, God molds and makes us into the person he wants us to be.

If we’ve given ourselves over to him to do that work, we know that can be a painful but rewarding process.

When we start to recognize God’s hand in our lives, it not only changes the way we see him, it changes the way we see ourselves.

Suddenly, it’s not our life. We are instruments for his purpose. Instead of seeking our will, we seek to fulfill his instead, and it helps us to become more intentional about our time on this side of heaven.

In the resurrected life, there is no place for greed, the power-hungry and self-centeredness. In the resurrected life, it feels good to be concerned for the poor, not burdensome, to advocate for the weak and voiceless when they become prey to the powerful.

With so much change swirling around us now, it may seem selfish to concern ourselves with our own hurts and habits. But history can be weighty.

I think that’s why Hebrew 12:1 exhorts us to “lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us.”

It’s hard to run let alone concern ourselves with the hurts of others when we’re consumed with what ails us. It’s no wonder, when I write about the poor, about discriminatory policies and practices, I hear from so many who just can’t be bothered. What about me, they ask.

Maybe this Easter, with so much time on our hands and with all the social distancing, we can allow God to mend the things in us that have been broken, and finally turn the page on our own painful history and begin anew.

I will miss celebrating Easter with my Antioch Baptist Church North family on Sunday, but part of me can’t help thinking that maybe having the doors shuttered will be a good thing, especially for those who show up to get their annual Easter tingle only to return home the same, because maybe, just maybe, they’ll take the time to consider their ways, too.

For those of us who gather every Sunday, who see every day we’re given as resurrection day, who see the Son in agony, and who see the empty tomb as God’s victory over death and in our personal lives, it will be, indeed is, a hallelujah Sunday whether we are in his house or ours.


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