April 05, 2012
Easter Sunday [April 8, 2012]
I have long had the notion that youngsters have a certain intuition about things in this life that those of us who are older need to learn from books or other ready resources. If, for instance, you were to ask them to describe their notion of Christmas, they would immediately tell you about gift giving, or about a Child who is a gift to us all. Of course, they might also tell you “what they got” (gifts) but my hunch is that the gifts might turn out to be less important than the meaning of the event itself.
My point is that there is something down deep some mystery deep in human life that just comes naturally or that is co-natural with human life itself.
Or again, take the feast of Easter: If you were to approach kids and ask them about it, what they might tell you is that it “happens” in spring, or that we use symbols that talk about “newness,” freshness.
You may wish to tell me that those kids are smart beyond their age-level. Yes, it may well be true; perhaps they have had a theologian for their teacher in grade school.
But my point is that there is something natural, something intuitive about various experiences in human life. You don’t have to learn them; they come naturally, by nature.
Speaking for instance of the Feast of Easter, the Lord’s Resurrection, you might wish to ask an adult Christian, educated in the faith, for his theological sense of the feast. I’m sure most of us would immediately try to remember what we were taught in our theology classes about the resurrection, the power of the Father to raise His Son Jesus from the dead. Or the person may respond with a theological explanation of redemption, Christ’s suffering, death and resurrection. Others might want to speak of victory, forgiveness, and reconciliation.
Others may wish to speak of the sacred rites and how they relate to nature: What was dead has now come back to life as the buds on trees come to life each spring.
All these would be perfectly correct, of course. But most Christians usually do not ask for a theological explanation of the mystery of Christ’s life, death and resurrection. They would rather tell you what it means to them, how it feels, what symbols best represent the meaning of the feast.
They might wish to speak of their own rising to life from a close to-death-experience. They might choose to describe how life appears to them in the spring of year, what it feels like to be rid of winter and look forward to the life which the sun brings forth.
In short, some might say in answer to the question of resurrection: “Hey, just look around: Everything in this world goes through the death and rising experience. It’s just that Jesus offers us his own experience of rising from death to life. We, in turn, look for similar instances in life that will give us reason to get up each morning and begin again, despite the ‘deaths’ we passed through yesterday and the day before that.”
I think my sense is that the theological support for the feasts of Christ are always necessary. But when we are asked about their meaning in our life, we will always return to personal experiences that we know best.
The advantage of this sort of answer is that it is something that can give us life, something that will give us hope for life on another day. In short, if Christ is risen so can we rise, not just once but tomorrow and every day of our life. That is what resurrection means to me. I wouldn’t hesitate for a moment to share that with any young Christian who asks, “hey what is resurrection all about?”
Posted by Cindy Lentine on April 5, 2012 03:32 PM.