The Precipice and a Gesture on Easter

For days now I’ve been reflecting across decisions made throughout my adult life analyzing and wondering how each of those choices lead to a plethora of monotonous structures to climb up, down and around. How each decision made an impact on one life after another.

A few years back I made a decision to start attending a Christian Church to which I had not stepped inside of for religious practices in nearly a decade.

On this particular day I entered, spoke to a handful of people and found a seat to the left inside the auditorium. It happened to be Easter morning mass but today’s sermon would be like none other I had every attended.

The preacher went through his normal spiel of antidotes, and stories about Christ, resurrection and the sins we humans make along our life’s journeys. Then he called out a younger preacher to inform why everyone had been provided with a blank yellow sticky note at the beginning of the service.

“Today,” he began, “we will be asking you to participate in a ritual of giving away your sins to our father, Jesus Christ. You will take your sticky note and for all the sins you have committed over the past year, place this sticky note on the 8-foot cross on the far side of the room. Together we will wash away our sins.”

The idea of sticking this sticky note onto the cross had an OVERWHELMING impact on my being. They wanted me to “atone for my sins by placing a note with my name on it onto the cross“. This symbolic gesture through a wrench into my morning. How in the heck does this work? I mean, I get it. It’s a symbolic gesture, but still the idea behind this is extremely significant. Or at least it was for myself as I sat and watched person after person go up to the cross and stick the sticky note onto it and depart the auditorium.

I sat still, completely paralyzed by the thought of this gesture.

The significance of this one item… a modern day sticky note placed on an 8-foot wooden cross in the middle of a church in the middle of nowhere’s-ville Alberta to release everything you have done over the last 37-years, all the bad choices, all the terrible decisions, all the mishaps and shitty things you have ever done. Forgiven. Bt placing this sticky note on the cross. And letting God forgive you.

For myself this gesture was too strong, too significant to just walk over and place it on the cross.

After nearly everyone was gone out of the auditorium, I strolled over to the cross looking at the nearly 300 sticky notes with names of other church goers than sat down before the cross and looked down at my shoes and over to the sticky note in my hand. I couldn’t let it go. It stuck to my fingers like hot glue to a glass bottle.

Then Joshua the young preacher came over to chat.

We discussed the significance behind the gesture and somewhat about what I was struggling with in this one moment on this particular morning. Then he stood up, placed his hand on my shoulder and said, “James, take as much time as you want to. I have some things to do in the back but there are no other sermons today. When you feel comfortable with this gesture you will know what to do next.”

As Joshua walked away and the other people in the auditorium cleared out. It was just myself, the sticky note and this 8-foot cross in a silent room looking at one another.

That’s when the tears began rolling down my face. Uncontrollable sobs. And I couldn’t stop the water works from proceeding. Every terrible thing I had ever done came flooding back in the emotions and its tirade as I starred at the base of the cross.

“I’m sorry”

Was the only words I could muster at the time.

Without another soul in sight, I sat in that chair for the next 2 and a half hours, thinking about Thirty-four years of bad choices, bad actions, things I’d never told anyone else.

At the moment I was having a real mental breakdown.

Reality was killing my inner soul and all I had to do was give into this gesture. To hand over my sins to the Lord and he would forgive all of those nasty sins.

I sat…

and sat.

and sat.

thinking about those sins.

sticky note on the fingers.

my name scribbled across the centre of it.

Eventually after nearly 3 and a half hours of being next to the cross. I stood.

I stood next to it.

Feeling its enormous size next to my 6 foot frame.

As I stood, I reached out to the cross and pulled myself against it. As close as I could get.

“thank you,” I said to this ginormous cross.

Then placed my sticky note at its cross members.

The only sticky note in the middle.

At the centre of its heart.

Then I turned away from it and exited the auditorium walking out into Sunday afternoon.

~ James Curtis