Sunday, March 31, 2013

Revitalizing the Resurrection Narrative

Yesterday, one of my friends asked me how my Holy Week was going, and I was honest.  I said that some years, I don't bring tissues with me, and I need them.  Other years, like this one, I carry a wad of tissues, and I never cry.

I said, "Every year, it's the same old story; it never changes, that march to Crucifixion."

I was joking, but it does point to a serious problem, for those of us who go to church regularly.  We hear a version of the Resurrection story every Sunday.  It's wonderful, but it does risk making the narrative hum drum.  We become immune to its power.

This Easter morning, I find myself thinking of the story of the Prodigal Son.  I think of the fear I feel when I watch loved ones engaged in destructive behavior, and I know the father was feeling that emotion for many years before his son finally leaves.  I think of that father, who must have surely given his son up for dead by the time his son returns.  I think of all of us who have loved ones that we'd love to see again.

I think of the joy that father feels:  another chance, and maybe it will all work out this time.

I think of the sorrow of the women who come to the tomb on Easter morning.  They must have had similar feelings to the father as they watched Jesus and his ministry:  "We've been waiting for this one.  Maybe it will be different this time."

I think of all the people repressed at the hands of oppressive governments everywhere.  I think of the millions of disappeared people, the family members who yearn for answers, the tombs empty because the bodies have been dumped in rivers or buried in construction projects. 

The message of Easter is that death does not have the final answer.  Repressive governments will only rule so long.  We will not have to suffer separation from our loved ones forever.  We have dead bodies to prepare for burial today, but it will not always be so.

Resurrection beckons.  How will we respond?

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