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.
Last night, being Ascension Day evening, I offered a reflection on its meaning. With that brief, though significant intermission, tonight, I resume our “Easter Egg” hunt, our search for seeds or kernels of theological reflection 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, who was crucified and died, came back to life.
On Monday night, I said that others view Easter as fiction. That Jesus died and his body returned to dust. And that the stories of his resurrection were made-up tales to justify his disciples’ subsequent claims of his divinity.
On Tuesday night, I said that for still others Easter is not a fictional tale, but one with mythic elements. Jesus, metaphorically speaking, was raised up to a continuing life in the body of his followers, the Church.
On Wednesday night, I said that for still more, Easter proclaims a promise of immortality. As Jesus was raised from the dead, we, too, will live forever. But if that means living forever in this life, in this world as it is, that is not something I want to endure eternally!
Nevertheless, tonight, I say that immortality is a wonderful prospect because it embraces an idea of a life and a world other than this life in this world. Another life in another world where all is well, where good triumphs, where right reigns, where love is victorious.
But given this life in this world…
Where little is ever well…
Where all is never well…
Where the persistent answer from worldly powers and principalities to the calls, the cries of those in need for compassion, justice, and love is “No!”
Given all this, life in this world doesn’t offer much reason to imagine a life and a world other than this.
Nevertheless, in arriving at this place, we can see why Easter is extraordinary. Easter proclaims that once in this life in this world the last word was not “No,” but “Yes.”
To be continued and to conclude tomorrow night…