The Anti-Gaslighting Light

We Orthodox Christians are rowdy this week with Paschal joy. We just put in a collective 7 weeks of repentance until the joy of the Resurrection made mercy seem like the better option than anything. The prayers tell us to rejoice even with those who do not love us, because we have found a joy that raises us out of everything lower: death, hell, even pettiness!

There is one exchange that particularly shoos off the usual sarcasm we often experience online and from insecure persons. It’s going around in every language and home and online gathering place. Perhaps you have seen it.

Christ is Risen!

Truly He is Risen!

When I experience mercy, I have joy, sure, and it’s quickly followed by a “What just happened?” response. I feel a kinship with all those people in the Gospels who witnessed amazing miracles and were still puzzled by who Jesus was. I can almost hear them asking, “Like, did y’all just see what I saw?”

Back then, there were plenty of people who wanted to tidy God back into ideas so they didn’t have to deal with the way God shuffled the human pecking order. Well, sure, He healed that woman, but did you ever stop to think about why she was going around touching people in her condition? I can almost hear the Pharisees sucking their teeth as they watched all the people they were better than walk away healed and joyful after they met Jesus.

I can do the same thing. I can watch a miracle or two and wonder if I can handle the fallout from God doing that sort of thing. I can count my blessings and sigh, “That’s enough for now” when I run out of fingers and toes. I can wince as I see God drawing So and So near, when it would be easier for me to ignore So and So if they just stayed mean. But there’s a good reason to stop trying to be sophisticated and ornery and to start being glad. The rankings of humans that let me compare myself to others were built around the doors to death and hell. And Christ has broken those doors.

Christ is Risen from the dead, by death trampling down upon death, and to those in the tombs He is granting life.

He has made us ministers of reconciliation. But once we take that song and that light of mercy out into the world, we start to knock against the hardness of the world and of our own broken hearts. We need each other to keep the light alive. So we remember the truth that sets us free, reminding each other of the truth over and over again the way that people light fires by clacking flint and steel.

validating light

Christ is Risen! But what about violence and hatred and pettiness and perversions and competition and misunderstanding and addiction and poverty and crime and war and pollution and illness and corruption and pain and death?

Truly He is Risen! And everything is worked back towards the good and mercy is over all of God’s works and there is nothing to stop grace entering the soul.

Christ is Risen! But what about loneliness and despair and emptiness and vanity and vainglory and selfishness and greed and people dying before their time and storms and extinctions?

Truly He is Risen! And nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

This world is not easier if you know where you’re going. The trials are harder for the strong. But when you know the truth, you are set free, like Christ was free among the dead. You can move forward with courage and vision and confidence and hope and even the greatest gift of love. There will be a thousand voices trying to tamp down the light of Christ, but for these 40 days, we shield each other against the effects of their gaslighting.

Christ is Risen!

Truly He is Risen.

Christ is Risen!

Truly He is Risen!

These words crack against the lies of the world like flint making fire from stone. With these words we keep the light of truth alive against the gaslighting of this broken age.

Christ is Risen!

Truly He is Risen!

This post is part of a new project I am starting on reclaiming the conversion experience from popular culture. Conversion has come to be understood as a marketing term instead of a spiritual one. People are being sold a bill of goods in many spheres of life, all to assuage their isolation and loneliness. But conversion is a normal part of a life of faith. Let’s reclaim it so that we can rejoice that if the Son has set you free, you are free indeed. Join the conversation in the comments.

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