It’s probably because my grandparents were morticians, but  the idea of a body getting up at Easter has never been  particularly inspiring to me. I much prefer to believe that the  disciples discovered something bigger than a resuscitated  cadaver at Easter. I want to believe they experienced the secret  of life itself.

By getting hung up on the details of the story we can easily  miss the whole point of the Easter narrative. The stories of religion are not  records of particular miracles, but are symbolic illustrations of  the mysterious principles that give us life and being. Biblical  stories illustrate the mysterious lattice work of intelligence which is invisible to our dim senses but which underlies our  very existence.

In the Christmas story, a child is born in the bleak midwinter. This image remind us that the light of life shines out of what seems like  dark emptiness. The point of the symbol is to remind us that  painful or lonely events are still important parts of our larger  life.

Easter is Christianity’s version of a story found all over the world where a  beloved child is taken from a loving parent and carried to the  underworld. The story was told at the vernal equinox  (beginning of spring) so people could remember, even as they  celebrated the beauty of spring, that everything  will be given back to the one larger life.

I realize that many people become religious so they won’t  have to think this deeply about life. Some people get so  wounded or frightened by life that they just want to be reassured. But  closing our eyes to reality will not comfort us for long. At some  point, we must turn to face our own mortality. When we die, our  bodies will not get up again, they will be recycled. Our only  honest consolation at that point is to love the whole circle of  life. Our true happiness is the common happiness.

I believe that the “Christ” people experienced at Easter was not  a walking cadaver. I believe the resurrection stories illustrate a more universal truth. The spirit of life the disciples first saw  in Jesus, they now saw in each other. “Resurrection” is awakening to our common life. Easter is not the property of one sectarian religion. When the risen Christ calls  us, we are not being called to the Christian Church, but to the  one life of us all.

(From Church Newsletter April, 2009)