More Than A Feeling

Claire Pemberton

Claire Pemberton

There’s nothing quite like a 70s rock ballad to help you say a thing. It also causes everyone who was actually alive in the 70s to glare at you like you just put their entire life on display at the Natural History Museum, next to the Cheddar Man exhibit. But we’ll get to that later.

Easter is here! And with it comes an enormous amount of egg-shaped chocolate clogging up the supermarket shelves and a horde of angry Christians brandishing billboards that remind people ‘what Easter is really about’. I’m not here to join that horde… I promise.

The difficult truth is that Easter is more than an excuse to crack out the pastel colour wheel.

Easter is about love. The truth is that God loved this world so much that he gave his only son, Jesus, so that our lives would be awesome, and death wouldn’t be the horrible pointless end.

Love is expressed and represented in so many understated, overstated, backdated, exaggerated, sickeningly sweet, TMI PDA ways these days that it’s no wonder the word has lost some of its impact. I mean, seriously – I love chocolate, I love my cats, I love long walks on sunny days, I love my job, I love my friends, I love my husband, I LOVE chinese food … God help me if I actually feel the same about every category in that list – life would be a greasy, apathetic smear on the mirror I’m about to take a selfie in!

What is love, really? What is love that the Greeks had five words for it and the Hebrews had at least ten? Because we’re modern and enlightened and utterly ridiculous in our own endearing way, we English (I feel like a member of the royal family just writing that) have just one word to express it, and class it as a feeling.

Feelings are tricky, unreliable things. As a young woman who can’t watch Titanic without sobbing inconsolably and yelling at the screen as Jack and Rose play the most tragic game of Marco Polo ever to exist, I can attest to the fact that they come and go, swing up and down, and personally I’ve found that relying on feelings alone often leads to awkward explanations and apologies.

In ancient languages, the words for love are all about doing and being before they’re about feeling. But they are about feeling, too. Love is more, but not less than a feeling… I suspect Boston might not have done so well if they’d chosen that for a title.

When love is more than a feeling, it becomes a whole lot more powerful. It starts in emotion, but then it makes a choice and keeps on choosing. Love is the thing that saw your whole life stretched out before it, every silly decision, every horrible thought, every funny moment, every difficulty, every mountain top, and chose you anyway. Not in spite of it all; because of it all.

God is love, and God chooses you. You are not an accident. We know how damaging it is for children to hear that from their parents but we never realise it applies to us as adults too. You were created in love and you have tremendous power to love, and ultimately, that’s what it’s all about. When it comes to Christianity people will pick up debates about a million tiny issues and a hundred big ones but the only thing that really matters is that you’re loved beyond measure. That’s what Easter is about and that’s for everyone, no exceptions.