I went to church at Easter. It was a perplexing, emotional experience. My relationship with the Catholic church is a fraught one. But one thing I got out of the service was how the story of the Resurrection is one that can resonate no matter whether you believe a bloke called Jesus died at some point in history and then miraculously rose again. I also loved that someone played the cello. Beats an organ. Pretty much anything does.
The priest at the church I visited – St Kevin’s in Bangalow – trod the line so well in his telling of the Easter story. He allowed it to also be interpreted as one of metaphorical death and rebirth (he didn’t invite it, but cleverly used the homily to show how it can be received in the everyday). Even if you believe in the literal version of things (Jesus did actually come back to life after bleeding to death on a cross), what I imagine you – we all – get out of it is a broad message that everything dies and everything comes back, albeit as another form, and that there are lessons to be taken from this process. We acknowledge the sins that Christ died for. So that we can continue our earthly experience with some goodness going on.
I came across this BRILLIANT read about why Easter resists commercialism on Slate yesterday. It addresses the Resurrection. It’s worth reading. James Martin writes:
Well, for one thing, it’s hard to make a palatable consumerist holiday out of Easter when its back story is, at least in part, so gruesome. Christmas is cuddly. Easter, despite the bunnies, is not.
Indeed, Jesus is betrayed by his best mate, killed brutally, then rises from the dead. Also, the Resurrection is hard to come to terms with.
What does the world do with a person who has been raised from the dead? Christians have been meditating on that for two millenniums. But despite the eggs, the baskets, and the bunnies, one thing we haven’t been able to do is to tame that person, tame his message, and, moreover, tame what happened to him in Jerusalem all those years ago.
Ergo, he says commercialism kind of side-steps Easter. No cards, no Easter movies, no shopping.
Easter demands a response, he says.
If you believe that Jesus rose from the dead, this has profound implications for your spiritual and religious life—really, for your whole life. If you believe the story, then you believe that Jesus is God, or at least God’s son. What he says about the world and the way we live in that world then has a real claim on you.
Easter is an event that demands a “yes” or a “no.” There is no “whatever.”
I sort of agree. But sort of not. I personally believe that Jesus the man existed. He was an outstanding man, with a lot of insight into the human condition. But that many of the stories surrounding his life were metaphors that have morphed into literal translations. Just my belief, and I don’t think they diminish the power of the messages, which are extraordinarily beautiful and true.
“Christ died for our sins”…I believe “Christ” is within all of us in that there is no separation between you, me, and the consciousness that EVERYTHING emerges from. And so I believe a part of us does die before we rise again into a new phase, a new opening, a new humanity. What dies is our ignorance. This is what I take sin to mean.
There must be death before renewal. And there must be sacrifice. And there must be awakening.
I hope I don’t offend anyone by giving my take. I think the Easter story is a beautiful one. And I’m VERY glad there are no Easter elves, or Easter MYER windows.