We're about to celebrate Easter again. Besides airing the Passion of the Christ on tv, or hiding chocolate eggs in the garden, this feast has remained untouched by the massive commercialisation that suffocates Christmas (though I like unwrapping gifts as much as the next kid).
It's a celebration with a very strange and precious message: Christ has risen!
I wrestled with what that could mean for a long time and I think I'll wrestle with it for quite some time still. The resurrection of Christ is one of the most counterintuitive elements in Christian faith, a remark that probably would make Justin Barrett nod in agreement.
One of the reasons belief in resurrection appeals to me, is its rebellious character. To explain what I mean by that, I must refer to a movie I saw as a teenager on the life of Mgr. Romero. The movie shows how a young woman, who assisted Romero in his work for the poor, is abducted by the military. Romero – if I remember the movie right – never finds out what happened with her. But there is a scene of that woman, standing at the edge of a garbage heap, laughed at by her torturers. They ask her to turn her face away, which she, trembling on her feet, refuses. It's her last act of defiance: they execute her… She becomes one of the many anonymous Salvadorians who died under the military dictatorship of the eighties and nineties.
Around the time when I first saw that movie, I was an enthusiast for the books of Rosemary Sutcliff. One of the big themes I got out of reading her work is the grandeur of 'little lives'. In Sutcliff's best books it's not about the king, the general, the well-known historical figure. It's about little people, living their lives the best they can, trying to make the right choices. The names of those little people are left out of history's index.
That's what belief in resurrection at least in part is about: for God no one lives and dies alone. No life goes to waste, no one is forgotten. Against the meaningless flow of time, against the arrogance of human evil, stands the rebellion of resurrection: yes, there is meaning in this life – yes, the good will prevail. And because of that rebellious faith, we are called to co-create meaning, to co-create a good future…
I know this only scratches the surface of what Easter means, of what it means to believe in Christ's resurrection, certainly in an age of science. Be that as it may, these scratches manage to inspire me. I hope they have the same effect on you…