Easter was almost snuffed out this year in Louisville. The day after Easter, April 10, a crazed 25-year-old gunman shot and killed four people in the Old National Bank before he was shot and killed. I don’t care to mention his name. I do care deeply for the people who were shot and killed: Tommy Elliott, Joshua Barrick, Jim Tutt, Juliana Farmer, and Denna Eckert. As I write, there are others who are critically ill and hanging on for life.
The news of this shooting makes me sick. It also makes me feel old. I forget I am in my seventies. I am old. Today, I spent time with my four-year old grandchild. We played ball with the dog. I pushed him on a swing-set with fits of glee and laughter. We took a walk to Locust Grove under a warm sun and blue sky. Yet, over the day hung a dark cloud from the morning shooting. It almost ruined the time I had with my grandson. Almost.
Rather than going negative, or down the proverbial rabbit hole, the obvious thought came to me, we are parents and grandparents for generations to come. Stand up. Get your act together. Just because there is craziness, destruction and evil in this world, does not mean I need to part of it. Yes, I am in this world but not of it. Of course, I want to leave the world a better place than I found it. Leaving a legacy is obvious. But there is more. It is Easter.
Sure, there are now polls out and surveys where we are told Americans are less religious and less patriotic. Like Dr. Phil, I want to say, or simply question: “how is that working for you?” I’m not being a smart-Alec but I am concerned about the vacuum, the emptiness, the amoral approach to life for young people growing up today. I’m also troubled by drugs—both legal and illegal—and what impact this has on the development of emotions, intellect, social togetherness, community life and ultimately our spiritual growth or lack thereof.
Don’t forget, it is Easter. This season carries with it a promise. Recall, Jesus has a conversation with his disciples, which sometimes is overlooked, misunderstood or even ignored. He speaks shortly before his death about the Spirit of truth. Jesus will send this Spirit to us and it will—like grace—be sufficient for us. His Spirit, in other words, is all we need. It is enough. It keeps us going. It is where our convictions are formed. Character is revealed. Life with God is lived to the fullest. And most importantly it is through the Holy Spirit we bear fruit. This really is important. Leaving a better world is not about a glowing obituary.
It is about planting seeds. It is about trees under whose shade we will never sit. It is a Spirit of “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control.” (Galatians 5:22-23) It is a Spirit that guides my life. The promise of Easter that will not die but only grow from generation to generation.
Now is the time. It is not time to give-up or throw in the towel. It is time, however, to trust God with all we have and allow His Spirit to manifest itself in the darkness of the tomb and the evil of this world as we bear fruit for a world that becomes a better place than we found it. It is Easter in Louisville.
© Stushie Art, 2010 “Yellow Finch” permission granted.