(This edition was first published for Easter 2005 and appears on page 70 of Listen to Life: Wisdom in Life’s Stories)
Those of the Christian faith celebrate the cornerstone event of our beliefs this Sunday—Christ’s resurrection. Beautiful ceremonies, impassioned preaching, and children in new clothes abound, as do candies and lilies. I can envision the women leaving the tomb crying “He has risen,” though there weren’t candies, clothes and cottontails to help with the announcement. Listen closely to the message and to what the Arisen proclaimed in his life. All of that begs the question to each of us—who has risen?
Our profession of faith clearly states that we believe that Christ rose on the third day. I see this as important to our faith, but insufficient unto itself for living our faith. We often hear during the Christmas season, “Why can’t we live with this spirit all year?” The same is true for Easter: “Why can’t we joyfully celebrate the resurrection of life and spirit all year?” Do we work proactively, sensitively, passionately to resurrect—to raise the lives and spirits—of those near us, friends, family and strangers? Our words of encouragement and healing, our patient listening, our gentle touches of assurance, our expressions of love and actions of loving, our celebrations of others simply for who they are: all are acts of resurrecting others from their deaths of despair, fear, uncertainty, illness, fatigue, loneliness, confusion and pain. About 2000 years ago, we were reminded of the power of life after death; I can’t help but think there was a lesson for us to heal “deaths” during our lives as well.
We are too often quick to crucify others in large and small ways, hammering nails into their egos, hearts and emotions and often without even knowing it; we are too often quick to deny our relationship and simple love for others when they are persecuted for who they are, what they look like or their beliefs; and, we are too quick to fall asleep when others anguish. We were called to live out the lessons that we heard in Christ’s life, and to have hope for our lives after death. Did we hear the lesson of our capacity to resurrect others, too, in our own humble way, less miraculous than was done for Lazarus, but within our power and our responsibility?
Joyful is this Sunday, this day of resurrection. Joy full be our arising…every day.