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Things to Know About What we Celebrate at Easter

posted Mar 29, 2016, 6:10 PM by Sue Fried   [ updated Mar 29, 2016, 7:00 PM ]

Here are some things to know about what we celebrate at Easter.

Resurrection is first and foremost an affirmation that God is fundamentally experienced and known as LIFE. This Spirit lives within everything in the universe and encompasses all the universe with an intent to bring about ever more complex life.

We can only experience resurrection as human beings in this life before death. We do not know what will happen after death to those we love nor do we know what happens to other life near us on this living planet we call Earth or throughout the universe. We can only affirm, as Albert Einstein did in his famous formula: what is physical (mass) equals energy and what is energy equals mass. Life does not disappear or remain static, it is always transforming, now and forever.

So here is how we experience resurrection in our lives.

Resurrection begins in the dark and feels tentative and ambiguous at first. Our first response to life rising out of the ashes is typically like that of Mary at the tomb-- hesitant, confused and sad. We're still grieving what we've lost.

Resurrection is a journey, not an event. Like all journeys, resurrection begins by taking one step, then another, and another after that. As you go, you can’t see very far in front of you. It's a bit like driving in the fog at night with your headlights on. You do not exit the fog when the car remains in park.

The context of resurrection is important to remember. We can only experience resurrection in those places where our life is transformed not resuscitated to living the same way. It takes time to accept an old way of life is dying, because we are patterned for the life we know. Thus when life seems deadly we must pass through a confusing period during which our natural impulses lead us toward a new life from an old way of living that is over.

But at some point we realize that for all the pain death has caused,
 we are not dead. We're alive, and there’s another path before us. And with that stunning realization comes a choice.

"Resurrection is not brought about by good people trying harder,” one theologian observed, but when LIFE acts at that boundary of what we call deadly and does something altogether new. Nonetheless, when confronted with that new reality we must decide to take the first step. “Start close in,” writes poet David Whyte, “Don’t take the second step or the third. Start with the first thing, close in, the step you don’t want to take.”

Resurrection is a universal experience. Every human being has had or will have the experience of crossing through what is deadly into life. And while this is still very much a Good Friday world, God invites us to trust that LOVE is stronger than death and that love leads to new life. When we dare to trust, we align ourselves with the power of love and help live it into being.

What makes resurrection a uniquely Christian experience for those of us who choose to follow Christ is the spirit of Christ living in our midst.
 That Jesus’ mission is our mission and Jesus’ message is our message. That the spirit of that person, that mission, that message lives in us as individuals and a community of faith.

There is, for those who desire it, a deep and abiding connection, and the knowledge that we do not walk from death to life alone. Christ meets us, as Mary was met outside the tomb that was as much her tomb as it was Jesus’ tomb. There is nothing forced on us, nor punishment for anyone choosing not to follow him. But Christ is here on the path as our companion and ahead of us as our guide, as was promised.

We’ll never know for certain what lies before us, but we can know who is before us. Knowing him, we need not be afraid.

 

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