Once again it is Easter, when millions of Christians worldwide celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ. As a child, this meant little more to me than putting on a frilly dress with white gloves and having a tiny cracker and some grape juice at church. Since then, though, I've come to realize that the resurrection story makes some important points for believers and non-believers alike. To wit:
1. Jesus was willing to die for a cause. Are you? Do you know anyone who is? The world is full of people who talk a big game about a great number of things, but when it comes down to it, talking is all they know how to do. If you want anything to change, you have to do more than talk. You have to take action.You may even have to risk death. Are you up for the challenge?
2. Selling out your friends isn't worth it. Judas was so wracked with guilt over the 30-pieces-of-silver incident that he returned the money and then hanged himself. What sounds like a good idea in the short term may come back to haunt you later, with drastic circumstances. Choose wisely and consider how your choice might affect others.
3. If you want to resurrect something, sometimes you have to let it die first. This was something I heard many years ago from a Baptist minister, but it came back to me later when I read Pema Chodron's book When Things Fall Apart. The minister said that Jesus couldn't bring Lazarus back to life until he was actually dead; Pema Chodron writes that in order to rebuild, sometimes you have to let things fall completely apart. Now, this is hard for us to understand, and even harder to put into action. We want to save things. We want to keep them alive as long as we can. We don't want to let anything die or fall apart because it represents failure. I get that. (Oh, believe me how much I get that.) But an end is an opportunity for a new start, and when you let things fall apart, you're free to put the pieces back together in a new configuration. Consider the phoenix rising from the ashes, or Bill Compton rising from a pile of vampire goo. (Sorry, but I just couldn't resist that one. My True Blood friends will understand.)
Easter comes at a time of year when the earth emerges from its dormancy. Whether you celebrate in a religious manner or not, it's hard to miss the omnipresent reminders of death & rebirth. What can you resurrect in your life?
Till next time --- rise from the ashes.