Sunday, April 16, 2017

Easter Audacity

"Love Conquers All"
- Easter Morning at the Desert Retreat House -

Today is Easter Sunday, the most important holy day on the Christian calendar – the day of Jesus' Resurrection. Those folks who aren’t Christians or aren’t religious may still celebrate this day as a springtime festival – flowers, chocolate eggs and brunch with the family. But even for those who do attend church today, my guess is that many won’t really spend all that much time thinking about Easter as the day of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.

After all, it’s pretty hard to get your head around the idea of someone who had died coming back to life again; and so, many Christians today will basically avoid thinking about what the resurrection means and stick to the much safer territory of bunnies and brunch.  

As I see it, many people will miss the entire point of the Easter message today by thinking that the resurrection story is about the time when the stopped heart of the dead body of Jesus flickered back to life again, the day when the resuscitated body of Jesus walked out of his dark tomb into the morning light. In fact, there is not one story in the Bible about about Jesus' body being resuscitated after he died. Instead the Easter stories are always far more mystical and metaphorical. They are stories about how the earliest Christians came to understand that, even though Jesus had died, somehow they continued to experience his living, cosmic presence among themselves.

Back when Jesus lived on earth, the mighty powers of the empire tried to kill Jesus and all he stood for. They executed him on a cross and were sure that with his death his message of all inclusive love would also die. They crucified Jesus in the belief that this would put an end to his dangerous teaching about the intrinsic dignity of every human being. But that’s not all what happened. Even after he was executed, Jesus and all he stood for continued on, even stronger than before, even to this very day.

The Easter message is a far more cosmic story than a narrative about a dead physical body being brought back to life. The Easter message is a universal proclamation that Love is always stronger than hate and life is always more powerful than death.

I am reminded of a story I once heard about a wise old bishop who, after an Easter Sunday Service, was asked if he believed in the resurrection?  The bishop’s extremely astute answer was:

Of course I believe it,
I’ve seen it too many times not to believe it.

I love that answer, it resonates deep within me.  Whenever any one of us witnesses the power of Love overcoming the chaos of hate, we see Easter happening. Whenever we are pulled down into the darkness of death and violence, and still believe that in the end love and life will be the ultimate victor, we see Easter happening.  

The Easter message fills me with audacity. It allows me to live boldly, courageously and fully because I know that ultimately, Love always wins and death has no power over any of us.

On this Easter Sunday I recall something Dr., Martin Lither King Jr. once said. It is a universal Easter message spoken to all humankind on this Day of Resurrection:

 But even in the midst of chaos
I refuse to believe that humankind is tragically bound
to the starless midnight of racism and war.
I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love
will have the final word.
Yes, I still have the audacity to believe that
we shall overcome.


Happy Easter!

2 comments:

  1. Thanks for bringing Easter back into focus, Paul. Your blog is a constant source of inspiration.

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