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!”
On Sunday night, I said that many, perhaps, most people view Easter as miraculous. Jesus was crucified and died, and then came back to life.
On Monday night, I said that others view Easter as fiction. Jesus died and his body returned to dust. And the resurrection stories were made-up tales to justify his disciples’ subsequent claims of his divinity.
Last night, I said that for still others Easter is not a fictional story, but rather one with mythic elements. Jesus, metaphorically speaking, was raised up to a continuing life in the body of his followers, the Church.
Tonight, I say that for still more, Easter proclaims a promise of immortality. As Jesus was raised from the dead, we, too, will live forever.
This is a fair point of view. I understand how someone can think this, believe this.
But Jesus rising from the dead doesn’t necessarily mean that the same thing will happen to us. Yes, the New Testament declares that Jesus shares our humanity; as the Epistle to the Hebrews attests, Jesus “became like us in every respect” (2.17; my emphasis). Yet Jesus, as the New Testament also declares, also is divine. Clearly, then, Jesus is a special, a most special kind of human.
And even if Jesus’ rising did mean the same for us, immortality or living forever is not, on its face, to my way of thinking, the most pleasant possibility. Let me put it this way. If immortality means living forever in this life, in this world as it is, that is not something I want to endure eternally!
To be continued…