Learning How to Easter

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Let Easter get into us. Let Easter come and live where we live. Let Easter permeate our souls.

 

A few years ago, John Dominic Crossan and N.T. Wright engaged in a public dialogue on the meaning of the resurrection.

They disagreed strongly on some matters, but, rather surprisingly, they both agreed that the real meaning of the early Christian witness to the resurrection was about the transformation of our lives and our world right now.

Bishop Wright puts it this way:

“Those of you who are going to preach on Easter Sunday, please note that the resurrection stories in the Gospels do not say Jesus is raised, therefore we’re going to heaven or therefore we’re going to be raised. They say Jesus is raised, therefore, God’s new creation has begun and we’ve got a job to do.”

Crossan says that the resurrection means:

“God’s Great Clean-Up of a world grown old in evil and impurity, injustice and violence has already begun … and we are called to participate in it. The end of the world is not what we are talking about. We’re talking about cosmic transformation of this world.”

You see, the great Easter truth is not that we are simply to find new life after death, but that we are to be new, here and now, by the power of the resurrection.

Gerard Manley Hopkins wrote a wonderful poem in which he uses the phrase “Let him Easter in us.” Using the noun Easter as a verb, Hopkins writes, “Let him Easter in us, be a dayspring to the dimness of us.”

It is a beautiful phrase. It is a beautiful prayer really.  “Let him Easter in us.” In fact, I think this is a great way to look at the real truth, the transforming reality of Easter. Let Easter get into us. Let Easter come and live where we live. Let Easter permeate our souls. Let him Easter in us, and be a dayspring to the dimness of us. Isn’t that really what we all desire most? Not Easter as a noun, about a long-ago event. But, rather, Easter as a verb, as something that transforms our present lives, as something that gives us new life now, as something that gives us hope and meaning and courage. Isn’t that what every human heart longs for? Let him Easter in us!

Easter is something that happens in us. Easter is a verb. The good news of Easter is not simply that God has raised Christ from the dead. The good news of Easter is also about the possibility and the promise that new life is available to each one of us here and now. God has raised Christ from the dead and we can claim this new life and make it our own.

Right now, at this moment, we can let go of past hurts and grudges, and start over. Right here, right now, we can overcome our fear and fixation on death and trust in the Lord of life and love. Right here, right now, wherever we are, we can claim new life in our families, in our jobs, in our relationships, in this community of faith, in this broken but beautiful world. We can be new “here and now by the power of the resurrection.”

God’s “Great Clean Up of the world” has begun, and we can joyfully participate. We can let Easter get into us; let Easter come and live where we live; let Easter permeate our souls. We can let him Easter in us, — on Sundays and every day — and be a dayspring to the dimness of us.

Alleluia! Christ is risen. The Lord is risen indeed. Alleluia! —Brad Mullis

 

This article originally appeared in the April 2015 edition of Trinity Topics. Access more articles like this one here.

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