Burning of the Resentments, Easter Vigil 2013

The one hundred and fifty or so resentments sent me in response to my post Send Your Resentments Up in Smoke were last night consumed in the flames of the Easter Vigil service held at Trinity Episcopal Church in Escondido, CA. It was a beautiful and deeply moving ceremony. Below are some pictures of it taken by my wife Catherine. (To see photos from last year’s burning, go here.) Beside me in the top picture is Trinity’s reverend, the great Meg Decker. Below that I’m standing next to the young man who, using naught but Actual Flint, started the fire that first burned the resentments, and was then used to light the Paschal candle (sometimes called the “Easter candle”), which symbolizes risen Christ as light of the world—and then, as that light is spread to candles held by the parishioners, of his presence in the midst of his people.

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About John Shore

John Shore (who, fwiw, is straight) is the author of UNFAIR: Christians and the LGBT Question, and three other great books. He is founder of Unfundamentalist Christians (on Facebook here), and executive editor of the Unfundamentalist Christians group blog.  (In total John's two blogs receive some 250,000 views per month.) John is also co-founder of The NALT Christians Project, which was written about by TIME,  The Washington Post, and others. His website is JohnShore.com. You're invited to like John's Facebook page. Don't forget to sign up for his mucho-awesome newsletter.

  • Carol B.

    I’m not sure why those pictures have made me cry like this, but they are surely cleansing tears….thank you…..

    • David Sinclair

      I’m with you Carol. The idea of lighting the Paschal candle with the flame – turning something ugly and hurtful into something beautiful and redemptive – is SO moving to me.

      Thank you, John, for this gift.

  • http://www.poesies.com Gina Cirelli

    Thank you so much for this, John.

  • Gordon

    Thank you John. Thank you so much.

  • Janet

    Thank you, John. You are a true pastor. Happy Easter!

  • usingmyvoicewell

    thank you, John.

  • Matt

    Thank you, John, and happy Easter! He is risen indeed.

    • Jill

      What a gorgeous day to cap off a brilliant week, and these pictures… I feel like I’m finding myself through the communities that love and accept and inspire me to be more than was, when I was holding my resentments close because they defined my past.

      Who am I without all that? Through amazing experiences like this, I am excited to find out!

      • Julie

        Those are beautiful thoughts, Jill, on a beautiful Easter. Godspeed on your journey!

  • Diana

    I feel relieved. Resentments are heavy, and God, I’m tired.

  • Don Rappe

    New fire! My favorite Resurrection symbol. But then, I was a Boy Scout once. So, the resentments form the tinder? That’s pretty cool.

  • Jennifer Vance

    Thanks John. You are a blessing!!!

  • http://allegro63.wordpress.com sdparris

    Thanks John. It must have been quite the experience to be there in person

  • Christy

    Thank you, friend.

    May the light of Christ, rising in glory,

    banish all darkness from our hearts and minds.

  • Ashley

    This really hit me deep and made me tear up a bit. Thank you, John. I feel free and find myself moving on now. I pray that all of you are also healing. God bless you, and happy Easter.

  • PS

    Thank you so much John!

  • n.

    having seen those photos on the way there, i felt less “ghosts” today when we had to visit my mum’s old house.

  • Kathy in KC

    I’d love to see all the resentments, anonymous of course. It might make all of us feel better to know what other people are dealing with.

    • Matt

      They’re all in the previous post. It’s called “Send your resentments up in smoke for Easter 2013.” Be prepared for some beautiful responses.

      • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

        There were about 150 resentments total. In order to make them all fit on the five or six pages, I shrunk them down to eight point font and removed all borders from the pages.

  • Dave Bowling

    John: Thanks for doing this again this year. Last year – at your prompting – I gave up my resentments for Lent. You burned them in last year’s ceremony. It was a definite release to let them go after carrying them for so many years.

    One of them was for a family member. I must tell you that this past year has shown a remarkable difference in how we react with each other – so much better. We were thrown into some situations during the year that required constant contact … so having that burden gone made it so much easier for us to better react and deal with the circumstances. I never thought it would be possible to work with this person as a team. Guess it was my resentment that was in the way the entire time. (I am not revealing the particulars in respect for their privacy – and my own feeling of shame for having felt that way for so many years.)

    Thank you for what you do – and for the burden you feel for others. God bless you.

    • Jill

      Dave, this is very encouraging to hear. Very.

  • Nicole

    Thank you, John. :) I know that the resentment you burned last year has slowly become less and less a part of my life and that is so beautiful. I look forward to change this year as well. *hug*

  • Lymis

    Thanks so much, John. I know that the resentments I posted last year are very much less of an issue for me this year – I’m looking forward to the releasing of this year’s resentments.

    I was once part of an entirely different sort of group, and before an event, we shared and released our fears in a similar sort of ceremony. At the time, someone asked the question of whether it was “fair” to simply release negative energies into the world where they could ambush people, and wouldn’t it be better to deal with them ourselves, as it were. The response that stuck with me was that energy is never inherently positive or negative, and that what we had bound up within ourselves as fear (or resentment) was energy that could be put to another use by the Universe if we released it and let it do what it was meant to do in the world – and that the ultimate purpose of anything was never negative.

    I’m not sure that my resentments have a life of their own, but if there is anything to recycling the Divine energy in them into something that God can use for good in the world, I love that imagery. And certainly, regardless of what happens to the resentments themselves, I can be more effective in the world without them.

    • Nicole

      Lovely. :)


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