It’s Easter. Honestly, Easter has never been my favorite Christian holiday. I suppose that a holiday celebrating a man dead and now miraculously living again should be pretty exciting, but I’ve always found Christmas to be the wonder winner. After all, God gave up absolute perfection, an existence so perfect we literally cannot understand or imagine it, to live in a screwed up world with human limitations. How do we even try to comprehend that kind of love and sacrifice? Know what I mean?I dunno. Easter is cool and all that, but – man! – Christmas!

Still, favorite holiday or not, it’s still a good time to step back and do a little state of faith pondering. Something that’s been going through my head lately is a command, one that says we should “be still, and know that I am God.” That’s been enough to make to me feel some despair. Have you looked out at the world lately? American politics are highly charged and polarized with factions apparently increasingly less likely to search for widely acceptable compromises, it seems like the gap between the wealthy and the poor is ever widening, populations in many countries are getting older and sicker, our privacy is extinct, debt is everywhere, businesses are corrupt, government is ineffective and corrupt, suicide rates are rising, and we could go on and on. That sense of despair gets even worse when I consider my younger sisters or nieces and nephews. It’s not only the sense of “what sort of horrible mess are we leaving for them?” It’s also the sheer level of noise and distraction. There are lights and screens and literal racket everywhere. Where does one go for quiet? What does stillness look like in the day of the cell phone?

It’s overwhelming. It’s hard. It’s tempting to look back nostalgically upon simpler times and feel despair and fear.

I think it’s false. Not the feelings – those are real. They creep up, try to flank me, dig holes under my feet so I’m suddenly in over my head, and pull all sorts of nasty tricks. It’s an actual sensation. What’s false, I think, is the premise or the need to feel despair. When I stop and look at my own life, I know there were genuine and difficult barriers to stillness when I was younger. If people wanted to escape or find distraction, there were plenty of ways. The world absolutely had problems, such as the Cold War, serial murderers, economic recessions, AIDS, racism, drug wars, pollution, etc. It’s not like I grew up during some Golden Age.

That, plus a little knowledge of history, suggests to me that things probably haven’t been different for any Christian ever. Not ever. Nothing is new under the sun, right? There have always been legitimate barriers, truly difficult problems and real things to cause distress and worry. The history we know is full of horrible things that have happened to people and that we’ve done, to each other, to the animals around us, and to the rest of the environment. It’s not like death, the ultimate disruption, is new, either. After all, that’s the big deal about Easter, right? Jesus was dead and came back. He came back.

Somehow, throughout the ages, despite all the turmoil, noise, and disruption, Christians have found ways to be still, to move past the mess of life and into that knowledge of God. I suspect that the way is still open to us, cell phones or not, and that the resurrection of Christ plays no small role in that.

Happy Easter, folks. He is risen.