The Resurrection assures us that God never gives up on us, even if we give up on ourselves
. These words lingered in my magpie memory long after I had forgotten the rest of the article. Like most of us, the crucifixion touches me deeply and I readily relate to its pathos, but the resurrection lingers somewhere outside my grasp. It’s mysterious, it’s awkward, and just like
the early Christian, I struggle with it.
Easter challenges me culturally, theologically and liturgically.
There’s the northern hemisphere Easter, all daffodils and blossom.
I’m sure I would understand the theology and liturgy of Holy Week and Easter much better if I had lived through the cold and bleakness of a European or American winter and then rejoiced as the landscape awakened and began to green and flower and warm.
Then there’s the Church Holy week and Easter with its invitation to me and hundreds of others to wave palms, wash feet, kiss a cross, light a candle, renew my Baptism promises and sing a joyful Alleluia. My head understands all that but my heart gets lost in liturgical words that don’t seem to touch it.
Down the road from the church the shopping centres invite me to give to the Children’s Hospital appeal, buy buns marked with the cross of Christ and consume lots of chocolate shaped eggs and rabbits. I’m caught in a three way Easter.
Sometimes I wonder whether the Christian churches have lost touch with the true meaning of Jesus’ Resurrection. Maybe the Children’s Hospital appeal, holiday breaks, celebratory family lunches on Easter Sunday and the endorphin releasing effects of chocolate, are picking up the core of the Resurrection promise. We need to celebrate life, we need to keep hope alive. Nothing is irrevocable, it’s never too late to start again, betrayal can be forgiven, death in all its hurt can be overcome, things can always be new again.
There isn’t a person in the world that doesn’t yearn for what the Resurrection promises. Whatever our age, gender or nationality, our mistakes, the depression we fall into, the hurts we inflict, the resentment or tiredness that sometimes overwhelms us, we long to believe that the future can hold the possibility of new beginnings.
We need to live beyond hopes gone wrong, to leave our crucifixions behind. John Shea put this very aptly:
What the Resurrection teaches us is not how to live – but how to live again, and again, and again.
May the newness of life catch you up in Easter joy. Peace be with you.