Monday, April 25, 2011

The Resurrection Message in a Culture of Death

Those of us who aren't suffering right now probably had a joyous Easter complete with special foods and time with family and friends.

What do we say to the woman weeping in the back of the church because her sister battles a fierce disease, and she's deeply afraid?

I know what not to say.  I'm not going to say that it's God's will or that everything will work out for the best or if we just pray hard enough, God will make everything OK.

I know that the disadvantage to a free will world is that God cannot just sweep in and make everything OK.

But I also know that the message of Easter, the ultimate Good News, is that Easter promises us that Death will not be the final answer.  We do not know how and when Death will be defeated--at least, I'm not going to try to engineer God that way.  We know the how of the beginning of the defeat of the Death culture:  we have spent days hearing that part of the story.  But we don't know the future part.

The woman weeping probably doesn't find that a comfort.  I sure wouldn't.  I want my sister with me until the day that we've both descended into the kind of decay that makes death seem merciful.  Don't give me pablum about how Heaven is better and my sister will be happier there.

At least, that's how I would feel if my sister was deathly sick, which she isn't.  So, I told the weeping woman that I would pray for her and her sister, and when she asked for a prayer shawl for her sister, I gave her one for herself too.

It's a small gesture, and I certainly don't have the powers to defeat Death myself.  But I believe the Easter promise:  death will be defeated, and all our tears will be wiped away. 

No comments: