This year I was asked to write the Forum on Faith Easter article for three Connecticut newspapers. You can read it online here, here, and here, under the title The Meaning of Easter, or simply read the text of it– uninterrupted by ads– below. Feel free to share it!
Resurrection a Reminder of Hope and Renewal
Glorious spring blossoms are aroused from shriveled dormancy. Hungry bears awaken from hibernation, filling their quivering noses with fresh, warm breezes. Beautiful butterflies emerge from their transformational chrysalises, which they had previously thought of as their caterpillar graves. Chirping chicks peck their way out of the silent sepulchers of their egg shells, no longer entombed inside. Miraculously, life stirs, where just shortly before, it did not seem to be.
So even though I was brought up instead on chocolate bunnies and jelly beans, I have learned since what I think is the meaning of Easter– that Jesus came to show us that we live forever. Yes, I think that is a concise statement of his mission in a nutshell, but I’ve realized too, that for me, it is also so much more.
It is the inevitability that dawn comes after the darkest hour, which one can straightforwardly confirm, since it happens everyday. Metaphorically, though, this is huge. Whatever rough patch you are going through, it will not be forever. There is always hope. Jesus in the Easter story teaches me that daffodil days follow closely after a cold winter’s blast.
Not so easy to contemplate is the part of the Easter message that suggests we can trust in God’s care even in the face of whatever might be going on, no matter how horrible. It also seems to imply that I should find confidence in a future I can’t see or comprehend. It seems clear to me that Jesus’ example also exhibits selflessness paying huge dividends, regardless of how dubious that approach may appear on the surface.
It seems to me that Jesus’ victory was achieved against all odds, so maybe ours can be as well. It is certainly beyond what I can know for sure, but apparently nothing is impossible. This is especially plausible if you define God as I do, as infinite, all-powerful, ever-present, and good. With a God like that on your side, any needed overcoming feels not only possible, but inevitable.
Jesus’ resurrection proves to me that God –as divine Life– mercifully overcomes death, and can resuscitate me as well each time I feel unappreciated, unjustly blamed, under attack, or entombed by hopelessness and dead-end prospects.
This also removes for me fear of the grave, and replaces it with a larger sense of life than one confined in a material body. Identifying with my eternal spiritual self, instead of this limited material one, is very freeing. Life is not only precious, but because of Jesus’ victory, I have reason to think it is more immense and profound than I thought before–everlasting, incorporeal, and indestructible.
Jesus’ exultant victory over his excruciating sacrifice, shows me that immortality permanently annihilates death. This revelation emancipates me. It symbolizes for me hope refusing to be smothered or suppressed. It is evidence for me that any attempt to kill and bury the potency of spirituality simply fails.
I try to live in such a way that I make Jesus’ triumph practical in my own life. I try to open myself up to God as often as possible, to have my own thought resurrected wherever and whenever it is closed off or seemingly defeated.
I have come to see that resurrection is actually spiritualization of thought– that glorious moment when realization, unconfined, bursts free and whole. I honor Jesus as the best example of this by spiritualizing my own thought as often as I can.
I always feel like today is the best day to commence that resurgence of life, which is always renewing and regenerative. So I also attempt to honor Jesus’ triumph by liberating myself from every hate or obstacle, and by doing my part to prevent evil from thwarting good.
Jesus has shown me how to live a life filled with purpose, vitality, and adoration, which is of hourly (and not only seasonal) importance. I pray for more of that Christ consciousness that lives as Jesus did. Like Jesus, I endeavor to acknowledge the ever-present kingdom of heaven– which he said is both “at hand” and “within us,” untouched by materiality, fear, and darkness.
Like Jesus, or the butterflies, the bears, or the daffodils, I try to be vibrantly resuscitated, rejuvenated, and reassured by my permanent coexistence with our Creator. I celebrate this promise springing forth!
by Polly Castor, a Christian Science Practitioner, and member of First Church of Christ, Scientist, 260 Main Street, Ridgefield, Connecticut 06877. She can be reached at PollyCastor@gmail.com.