The text of my annual Easter letter to the people of God at St. John's:
New York Times columnist Alina Tugend wrote recently, “My sisters and I have often marveled that the stories we tell over and over about our childhood tend to focus on what went wrong.” Alina says she had a normal childhood with many good times and some bad ones. Can you relate to her experience? What do you remember most about growing up? What affects us more: Praise or criticism? When we get together with friends, do we rush to recount mishaps, illnesses, discouragements, or gossip, or do we dwell on the grace, joy, and abundance we’ve experienced?
Dr. Norman Vincent Peale was famous for promoting the power of positive thinking. Alina consulted authorities who remind us that there is vast power in negative thinking as well. In epochs when life was far more dangerous, counting our blessings might have felt good, but paying close attention to dangerous events or circumstances kept us alive.
We usually think of those who sent our LORD to the Cross as being evil. We will relate to them better – and even begin to see ourselves in the crowds shouting “Crucify him!” -- if we think of them as frightened people who took action to keep their status and power.
It doesn’t matter if we weren’t in Jerusalem 2,000 years ago. The power of negative thinking is still ours to command whenever we want to drive a nail into a relationship at home, at work, or even at church. Instead, let’s be people who accentuate the positive, who remember the blessing and forgive the trespass, who bend toward hope and away from fear – people who live in the light of the empty tomb, where the ultimate power of negativity was destroyed forever. Let us be Resurrection people this Easter and all the days that follow.