Sunday, April 20, 2014

Thoughts on Easter

For me, Easter isn't about empty tombs and Jesus's crucified body coming back to life. If you are like many people, that's what it is for you, and that's okay.

But for me, it's not important whether Jesus was bodily resurrected, or whether resurrection is better understood as a biblical metaphor.

What matters is its significance. What does it mean for us in the 21st century? And, more importantly, how does it change us?

For me, Easter is a celebration of the abundant life Jesus taught, embodied, and exemplified. It's a celebration of living life to the fullest - fully awake in the present moment - being the very best you can be, and loving to the fullest extent. It means embodying the lifestyle Jesus embodied - one of compassion, inclusiveness, selflessness, integrity, and hope. And those aren't just fancy words. There must be real action behind them.

Compassion: genuinely caring for the needs and concerns of others. Helping others.

Inclusiveness: recognizing that everyone, no matter what, is worthy of the love of God, and thus your love too. No one is excluded from God's kingdom.

Selflessness: putting the needs of others before your own. Living for others.

Integrity: embodying fairness and equality and honesty. Living ethically.

Hope: working to make positive changes now in order to make a better tomorrow for all people. Bringing about the kingdom of God.

That last one is important because hope isn't just about looking toward some future time when maybe things will be better. Hope is a proactive action. As one of my favorite bible scholars has shown, the advent of God's kingdom, in the biblical tradition, isn't a passive thing to be awaited. It's a collaboration between us and God. 

The kingdom of God becomes a reality on earth when we live this way. Jesus becomes Christ resurrected, and Easter becomes real, when we embody this life he modeled for us.

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