Monday, April 5, 2010

94 / Easter

For Christians, Easter is the "main event." Christmas is nice, of course, and it's terrific to celebrate the birthday of the person who later becomes the Savior of the world. However, Easter provides the "pay off." Proof that a human being can rise from the dead gives everyone hope - or at least everyone who believes that this actually happened, as Christian believers of course do.

My preoccupations have always tended to be with "this world," as opposed to the "next world." I can speculate about the next world, but I can actually do something about this one. Arguments that what we do in this world ought to be governed by how our actions in "this world" will affect our experience in the "next world," have never really been able to claim my allegiance. From the perspective of "this world," however, the theology of Easter does have some real importance.

The theological idea of Easter is that Christ has died for us, and risen again, and that if we believe in Him, then we have, already, experienced both death and rebirth through Christ. As a consequence, we need fear death no more: "Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?" (1st Corinthians, 15:55).

Our fears of death, in all its guises (and they are multitudinous), divert us from life itself. So Jesus' words: "I am come that they might have life, and life more abundantly" (John, 10:10), coupled with the theology of Easter, might be understood as a call not to focus on death (and I'd say what comes after it), but on this life, here and now.

There is a good bit of debate within Christian theology about whether this rather straightforward interpretation of John 10:10 is in fact "what the Bible says." But for both believers and unbelievers, I personally think it's helpful to consider that we are, in fact, empowered by some miracle (and it may be just the miracle of being alive) to live, and live abundantly, without being dominated by the daunting fears of death and failure that bedevil us so much.

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