I love Easter. I've been thinking a lot recently about "salvation" and Christ and why I say I'm a Christian. A lot of it has to do with Jesus. The way he lived his life, and the way I believe we should live our lives. A lot of it has to do with the concept of self-sacrifice and humility that is so important to Christians. A lot of it has to do with our cutlure, the way I was raised, and the way I understand God and worship. A lot of it has to do with Easter.
I really, truly beleieve that humans need that concept of Easter. We need the concept of Christ, of Rebirth, of Renewal, of beginning again. People have told me before that every new day is a new chance to get it right. Every new day is a miniature miracle. And I believe that. But I think, all together, humans need something to believe that for. We need that belief so we can keep going - keep living.
Yesterday I was reading the liturgy for Easter, and it began to make sense for me. Things I had forgotten came back; I began to understand the point again. The psalm for yesterday talks about those time when life sucks. It talks about losing friends and lovers. It talks about people you love letting you down, and not having a place to turn. It talks about people you love dying. It talks about feeling alone and hopeless, and not being able to find God.
And then Easter comes. And there God is.
The sermon I heard today talked about the same thing. She talked about how alone Mary must have felt, waiting all night in the grave yard, and then discovering that her best friend's body had been stolen. She paralleled Mary's darkness to the darkness in our own lives when we go through times of despair and death. Death of friendship. Death of love. Death of hope. Death of life.
I could relate to this sermon because the last year of my life has carried a lot of death. I have a CD I made last year over Easter. I made it because of losses I was experiencing in my life as some of my closest friends were moving away. I listened to the CD this morning, and I thought of all that has happened between last Easter and this Easter. I have lost some of my closest friends, mainly because they have moved away. I have lost an important relationship. I have watched two of my best friends lose a parent. I have watched my own family struggle with some serious issues.
I have lost a lot of my idealism. I used to look at the world and sincerely believe that everyone was good, everyone was doing his or her best, and things would be okay. But this year I have learned that sometimes life is not okay. And sometimes people really don't do their best, no matter how much you want them to. And sometimes loving someone isn't enough. And sometimes my reactions and expectations and ways of dealing with things are not consistent with the Woman I would like to be. And sometimes people just randomly die - for no apparent reason. I have learned that as beautiful as life is, sometimes it is really ugly, really painful.
But the point of the sermon today was that when death speaks (death of anything ,or anyone), it only has one line to speak. "It is finished." That is all death says. The minister today, she said, "And then there is silence. Sometimes a very, very long silence." But after silence, God is still speaking.
The beauty of God is that God can not be contained by a tomb, or a box, or a death, or a relationship, or a failure. God is so much bigger than any of that. God rises, and recreates, and transforms, and begins again. God always chooses life.
The minister went on to point out that sometimes people are tempted to lock themselves in their own "Upper Room" after a death. We lock ourselves away, because we are afraid. We lock ourselves away, because we can't see God, and we don't know where to look anymore. And if we lock ourselves away, we often become the walking dead. There is no Life left to us. There is no faith, no joy, no Passion.
The beauty of Easter is the hope that the Passion and Life and Joy that come from living a life consistent with God - that come from a God who calls us by name - is not something that can be lost. It is ever-changing. It is ever-evolving. It is beautiful and challenging and defies description. But it is always here. It rises again. And, created in Its image, we also rise.
Easter is a beautiful story because it is magical, and hopeful, and full of springtime and new life. It is like Santa Claus but way better. And I am a Christian because I believe that humans need that kind of hope, that kind of magic. I believe that kind of faith and renewal is what makes life worth living and sharing and dancing through.