On Palm Sunday, at least 49 people died—bombed while they were at worship in Egypt. The week before, Syria attacked one of its own cities with sarin gas, killing over 80 so far, with hundreds more still critically ill.
I can hardly bear to read or hear about these stories; they are so painful, senseless, tragic, evil.
And yet, it is essential that we approach Easter with clear eyes, avoiding clichés about resurrection and about life itself.
Both resurrection and life are complicated.
This week’s lectionary offers two choices for the gospel reading: John 20 and Matthew 28. Either one gives us a glimpse into how being confronted with death, life, and resurrection creates fear, consternation, confusion, joy, and so many other emotional responses. Life itself is complex enough; throw death into the equation and we realize how little we know. We just sort of feel our way through.
As people of the resurrection, news of death reminds us that life is for a limited time, and that the limit is unknowable. Therefore, Easter pulls us to make as much as we can out of our own lives, and to bring life to places where it is needed.
Resurrection pulls us
- From the things that are soul-killing toward those that are life-giving
- From fear to peace
- From despair to hope
- From gazing at poverty to making sure everyone has enough
- From turning our backs to offering our hands in friendship and equality
- From hiding to receiving the hospitality of others
- From being distracted by so much that is meaningless to paying attention to the important
- From sticking with the familiar to exploring the world
- From being disconnected to reaching out
The darkness, death, and evil we see in events like those in Egypt and Syria serve as deep reminders that we have work to do. Life to share. Hatred to conquer.
How do we do that? We live. We move through every day with resurrection in our souls.
What gives life to you? To your loved ones? To your community? To people you don’t know?
Look for resurrection—that complex, beautiful, important, imperfect, confusing, hopeful resurrection that is part of what we profess—and let it pull you toward life.
© 2017, Melissa Bane Sevier