Then there is, at least in my case this year, the string of funerals that seems an almost endless of friends and church members and even strangers who want a preacher to lay Daddy to rest. Each of them challenges my understanding of this season of the Christian year in a different way.
And finally there is the Easter sermon and service. This most important day in the Christian year challenges us to find ways to communicate the truth of the Resurrection in a culture that avoids the discussion and to people who increasingly do not seem to believe in its physicality.
But in another way, I don't want to get past Easter. I wrote the poem fragment below while thinking about this
That Jesus crawled down Death's gullet for my sake
And kicked the door open from the inside out
That God, In affirming and validating
What Jesus did and taught
Raised Him from the dead
when we look into our own abyss
and the abyss looks back
We can laugh
because we know what is coming.
In the pause before the explosion
We smile in Evil's face
It's not much of a poem, really...and it's actually pretty angry. But my point is that when I look at what's going on in the world right now; the moves to cut funding for things like Meals On Wheels and services to the poor, Trump's politicizing of medical care and withholding aid in an attempt to "have Schumer begging" to negotiate Obama Care, terrorism in all it's forms....I don't want to get past Easter because Easter is the only thing that gives me any hope.
I believe that Jesus conquered Death (with a big D) and bodily rose again. I believe that in doing this, Jesus defeated the Powers and Principalities that appear to govern our world. I don't think it is a metaphor (sorry Marcus Borg) for the disciples somehow "feeling Jesus presence." I believe He was dead....and that He rose. Done. Finished. Period.
If that's not true, then the bastards have won. Death has won. Sin has won. Terror and hatred have won.
But I don't believe they have.
My favorite Easter image is Tommy Lee Jones in Men In Black going down that giant roach's gullet to retrieve his weapon. I love that moment just before Jones pulls the trigger and blows that bug apart from inside. That's what I think Jesus did to Sin and Death and Evil. They're dead and just don't know it...they haven't fallen down yet....but they will. In the meantime we're called to stomp on all the little roaches (hunger, racism, injustice, etc....go back and watch Will Smith in this same scene) as we work to build for the Kingdom.
Christ Is Risen
Christ Is Risen Indeed.