When an alcoholic works the 12-Step program
When an inner-city child graduates from college
When an abused child becomes a responsible parent
When an abused spouse says “no more” and means it
When a couple in a troubled marriage begins counseling
When a smile pops to the face of one long lost to depression
When, after a long winter, nature begins to bud and blossom
When nations negotiate for peace rather than engage in war
Death in its many forms looms large in our world. Whether demonstrated in the physical demise of our bodies, seasonal decay in nature, or the relational and situational declines that so often characterize our life circumstances, death is both real and unavoidable. End of story – or is it? Enter Easter. Enter resurrection. Enter the possibility that death does not have the last word.
There is within all creation an innate vitality, a drive to be alive, a built in dynamic that refuses to be defeated before its time. Because this is so, healing happens, new growth occurs, and renewal and rejuvenation become possible, for a time at least. This same life-force, this unquenchable Spirit, could be what Jesus’ followers experienced as his presence, even after he died.
Easter celebrates that the Spirit with which Jesus lived is at work in the world today. Easter invites us to view resurrection as an ongoing reality. Many of us are prone to overlook signs of resurrection because rebirth usually happens within the laws of nature rather than as extraordinary events. The statements above are examples and signs that resurrection is not just an historical event in the life of Jesus, but an ever-present dynamic in our selves, in nature, and in the circumstances that so often overwhelm us.
Believing Jesus was raised from the dead can be comforting, but it does not enable us to experience his life-giving Spirit – it is faith that makes this possible. Faith understood as the radical willingness to open our hearts to life’s innate vitality, empowers us to emerge from the grave-like fears and insecurities in which we are entombed, thus making us living signs of resurrection.