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)
I will have to admit the Walking Cadaver intro. was off putting,but the whole content is beautiful.
I guess my belief system could sound schizophrenic-but I think if you want to believe in a literally resurrected Jesus that is fine-if you want to think on it in a not so literal level that is fine also-as long as you are not hurting anyone with your belief system.I am in the pretty much believe in both sides presented here category.
I agree that much religion is a personal matter, but it’s hard to know when immature religion will hurt someone else. Literalism, legalism and superstition have a way of creating victims. My purpose is not to rock someone else’s boat, but knowing the dangers of bad religion, I want to be as stringent as I can be. I consider our comfort zone to be the most dangerous place for true religion to survive. I’m looking for people who want to work through what spirituality means after the insights of Darwin, Einstein and universal human rights were discovered. I’m assuming people who don’t want to do that work will stop reading, and those who do will keep the conversation going.
I haven’t ever equated resurrection with the resuscitation of a cadaver but rather a supernatural event that is beyond understanding for the limited human mind. I appreciate some of the points you made regarding the importance of story telling among world religions. I do take exception, though, to the notion that deeply religious people don’t want to or can’t (?) think deeply about life. I’m religious myself and I do think and explore deeply via science, philosophy, metaphysics, and so on. I don’t happen to believe it’s an either or proposition. He is risen. He is risen indeed. How exactly is the beauty of religious mystery.
(Same response as above.) I didn’t say “all”, I said “many”. My words are: “I realize that many people become religious so they won’t have to think this deeply about life” I consider myself religious, too, I’m just saying a lot of religion is escapist.
Also,I would be very careful saying things about people being religious so they do not need to think deeply about life-some great thinkers are religious.I personally think that some of the energy that leaves us when we die lives on somewhere–electrical energy–you can call that spirit,soul,whatever.I call on the energy of good people that have passed on when I am having a very down time-helps me.Maybe their energy is in “heaven” maybe it is floating freely;who knows-no one alive that is for sure!I am considered by folks that do not know me well pretty mainstream religious even though I belong to a Progressive Presbyterian Church.
I didn’t say “all”, I said “many”. My words are:”I realize that many people become religious so they won’t have to think this deeply about life” I consider myself religious. I’m just saying a lot of religion is escapist.
Beautifully stated Jim. Thank you!
Thank you Donna.