Subtitle: Seeds, kernels of theological refection about the meaning of Easter
Note: The following is the revised text of a theological reflection I shared with my parish community, St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church, Spartanburg, South Carolina, during tonight’s livestream of An Order for Compline from the Book of Common Prayer.
Continuing tonight with another, what I call, “Easter Egg”; a seed or kernel of a theological refection about the meaning of Easter.
“Alleluia! Christ is risen. The Lord is risen indeed. Alleluia!”
Last night, I said that many view Easter as the proclamation of a miracle. Jesus, who was crucified and who died, came back to life.
Tonight, I recognize that for others, Easter proclaims a fiction. Jesus died. His body, like all dead bodies, returned to dust. The empty tomb, then, was a cleverly devised story to substantiate the disciples’ ensuing claims of Jesus’ divinity. Therefore, the reported post-resurrection appearances of Jesus were not externally and objectifiably real events. Rather, and this is but one opinion or speculation that I’ve heard voiced by skeptics over the years, they were byproducts of the intense interplay between the disciples’ shared grief at the loss of their dear friend Jesus and their communal guilt at having deserted him in his final hours of suffering.
This is a fair point of view. Again, by “fair,” I mean that I understand how and why someone can think this, believe this.
But this doesn’t explain the subsequent self-denying, death-defying missionary zeal of the first disciples. Grief and guilt, though powerful emotions, may be more enervating than empowering; thus, serving less well as long-term motivators.
And, speaking of long-term, those first disciples, in their faithful apostleship proclaiming the gospel, the good news, clearly, also were successful, for here we are two millennia later as followers of Jesus!
To be continued…