Sunday Morning Musings: Happy Easter! I supposed some also might include some kind of practical joke and then say “April Fools”. In some ways the story of the first Easter as it is recorded by the gospel writers (some 40 to 70 years after the fact) can appear as a weird April Fool’s joke. Even some 2000 years later people are still trying to make sense of what happened. To further confuse the issue for many people has been the inclusion of a bunny that hides eggs, as if the whole idea of a bunny leaving eggs isn’t difficult enough to understand. Some have even suggested that belief in the Easter bunny is more plausible than the resurrection of the Christ.
Of course, the images created or metaphors promoted by the resurrection of the Christ; the new life represented by bunnies and eggs all fuel the Easter Story. The fact that Easter occurs in the spring of the year (at least in the northern hemisphere) also adds to the sense that all these elements are about life coming from what appears to be death. Spring announces the arrival of new life – animals give birth, dormant plants return to their glory. The story of the prodigal is fulfilled: what was lost is found, what was dead is alive.
Yet, the Christian story is still confused. Some find it difficult to comprehend the resurrection of Jesus other than a “physical” event. Even though in Mark’s gospel (the original ending – chapter 16 verse 1 through 8) – the Jesus figure doesn’t make an appearance. The women go to finish their duty of preparing the dead body. They experience an empty tomb and then run away in fear.
Over the centuries, the story has been told and re-told. Some of these accounts seem to dove-tail together while there are also significant differences (as is found through other stories told in the Bible). Yet the idea remains for many – what happened?
Personally, I have no difficulty in accepting (along with the apostle Paul) a spiritual resurrection, not unlike happens when any one of us dies. Our physical life can no longer sustain us. In one way or another, for one reason or another, our physical bodies no longer function. (I choose not to get into the discussion about just when “death” occurs – at not at this time.) All I want to say here is that even though the body has died, we have not reached the end of the story.
As I have said many times before, I do not have a scientific mind, but I am prepared to be confident that we are more than our bodies. I also have no difficulty in understanding the resurrection story as a mystical experience that move us away from even having to have proof (if that is what we want to call the empty tomb and burial clothes). The Easter story is about life in its fullness. It is about life that is lived after the body has stopped functioning.
One writer when asked about the meaning of the resurrection in our lives today remarked that “it is a journey toward intimacy with the creator of the whole universe” (Brian Findlayson). Easter becomes a stepping stone and maybe even for some, a starting place, to live in the fullness of love and compassion. Besides experiencing the power of God in another other, we are challenged to find and live that experience for ourselves.