David R. Currie
A Rancher's Rumblings
April 3, 2007


The last two Saturdays at the ranch have been amazing. What was brown, dirty, ugly, and depressing is now green, growing, alive, and beautiful. We have had nearly 10 inches of rain in the last month. Tanks that were dry are “running around,” as we call it. It even smells good—fresh and clean.

Spring is my favorite time of year. It feels like there is new life all around me and, in reality, there is. There are hundreds of baby kid goats and baby lambs, and many new baby calves as well. Grass is green now and growing by leaps and bounds every day.

To be honest, I’m not sure why we celebrate Easter in the spring. If they taught me in seminary, I long ago forgot. I did a little Internet research but did not learn much, except that we slowly—over time—changed some pagan holiday into a religious one, as we have done with lots of other holidays. It has something to do with the Council of Nicaea in 325 A.D.

For me, though, it just makes sense, because spring is when everything seems to come alive, and Easter is about coming alive as well. More importantly, it is about living forever although, to be honest, I have so much trouble living life NOW that I do not think much about forever except at times of loss. Then I hang onto “forever” like a baby lamb stays close to its mother—with a feeling of urgency.

The fact is that Christmas and Easter go together. You could not have Easter if there had not been Christmas. God had to first become flesh if He was to live and die for us. Christmas is pretty awesome; it means that God actually understands—experientially—what it is like to be human. I am amazed at that and take a tremendous amount of comfort from it. I have a hard time actually believing that God understands just how screwed up I am, but I like trying to believe it, if that makes sense.

For me, spring and Easter are mostly about forgiveness. The land is healing, growing, coming alive, and seemingly forgiving the cold, harsh winter. I forget to be angry that hay was $85 per round bale this winter when it was only $45 last winter, because I see water and grass and new life. I actually stop to think about the fact that I am alive for another spring and experiencing it all. I find myself wanting to go fishing and play golf (though once I play a round of golf, I ask myself why I put myself through that experience of mostly utter failure and frustration).


But back to forgiveness, and love and acceptance—Dr. Tracy at Howard Payne taught me that God’s character is unconditional love, forgiveness, and acceptance. God loves, forgives, and accepts us no matter what, because that is His very nature—God cannot NOT love, forgive, and accept us. And the Cross is the ultimate expression of God saying I love, forgive, and accept you THIS much! And Easter—the resurrection—is God actually showing that there is new life forever for everyone who believes, and nothing can defeat His power and love.

Now do I understand all of what I just wrote? No, not even remotely. I understand it intellectually better than I do emotionally and personally. But I am human and very flawed, and I do not understand unconditional love, forgiveness, and acceptance very well, mostly because I cannot feel it for myself very often, and then I usually just sort of fade away in my mind because guilt just eats me up and I want to hide in shame. In turn, that makes it hard to give forgiveness to others. Yet, as hard as it is to show it to others, it is even harder still to allow oneself to believe it and accept it for oneself.

Yet … Jesus said that we are to love others as we love ourselves, which I think means that, if we love ourselves properly, we can more easily love others and—by the same token—if we forgive ourselves, we can more easily forgive others.

And then at moments or, as Frederick Buechner says, “now and then,” I remember Easter. I actually feel forgiven, loved, accepted, and alive—clean and fresh, even reborn with a new life, and I think “Maybe it’s true that God does not even remember all that stuff I did, and maybe I should not remember it, either”; and maybe it is all true, because I look around and discover that what was brown, dirty, ugly, and depressing is now green, growing, alive, and beautiful. Then I dare to think that maybe I (and you) can be all that, also. And I celebrate Easter.