Easter is a feast in the life of the church which although lip-service is paid to its importance, honestly takes second place to the feast of the Incarnation of Christ commonly called Christmas. There's nothing wrong with the celebration of Christmas as such an important part of our lives, but in some ways it somewhat distances us from the challenges of faith that confront us in every direction and place in our lives.
Recently in our family a new infant joined our ranks. It's amazing how we are drawn to a newborn. We all smile and admire the miracle before us. There is something very gratifying about our relationship to newborns. It thrusts us into another world and somehow we forget all the cares and worries that envelop us in everyday living. At the end of the day though, we all realize that we must go back to facing the challenges of living as an adult in an adult world. Christmas is the feast of an infant for most of us and Easter is the feast of the greatest challenge to our intellects that we will ever face—the Resurrection of a crucified and dead Christ.
This isn't the time and place to discuss the nature of the Resurrection because there are many views and each of them is precisely that—a view from a particular perspective. The great scripture scholar Eugene LaVerdiere who died in 2008, once said in my presence, that if he went to the holy land and there discovered the authentic tomb of Christ and rolled the stone aside only to find bones wrapped in a white cloth, his faith in the Resurrection would not be altered in any way. So much for arguments about whether or not Christ physically rose from the dead... it simply doesn't matter. He is Risen and we who are Christians know it.
I used to belong to an order of Priests and Brothers known as the Congregation of the Resurrection. These are hard-working religious who live their vowed life based on the Resurrection of Christ.
Distilled from their faith in the Resurrection is their Charism. It makes a few good points for all of us who are followers of that same Christ.
God's love for us is merciful and unfailing. True enough, the Resurrection of Christ teaches us that no matter how difficult our journey, no matter how much evil we encounter in life—God's love will always win. It was so for Jesus of Nazareth and it will be so for each of us. A good thought to carry in our day to day living.
God calls us to conversion. If we look at our behaviour honestly in daily life, we understand that so much of what we say and do is not consistent with what Jesus taught. In order to remain open to the abiding love of God—a love that conquers all that is wrong in life, we must always live our lives in conversion mode. That means daily, as people who believe in the Resurrection, we must open our hearts to change and growth and not assume that we alone have the answer or know the way.
God invites us to live together as brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus. After the death Christ, we can imagine how the disciples must have scattered and argued and perhaps even lost faith. There are various references to this in the post-resurrection narratives in the scriptures. The story of Emmaus in particular reminds us of how essential it is to break bread and share the cup of salvation in order for us to profess our brotherhood and sisterhood in Christ. We must constantly avoid the temptation of division and instead open ourselves to living in love with all those who cross the paths of our lives.
God calls us to work together for the Resurrection of Society. This is the most important point. All of the previous points lead to it. Once we recognize God's love, God's call to conversion, God's call to live as sisters and brothers in Christ, then it is important for us to work toward the Resurrection of Society. In previous editions of this paper, we have been stressing the call for the church to grow in its sense of justice and our responsibility to live justice every moment of our lives. A just and loving world is a world that is living the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. This issue contains an article by Colleen Sym which invites us to consider the depths of Justice in our church. It's not just about imposing our gifts of graciousness upon the disadvantaged, but it is about making the decision to walk with them and opening ourselves to letting them walk with us in the pilgrimage of life toward God and toward a just society. The Bishop in his Easter Letter in this paper, having spent time in Africa with the poorest of people, has experienced a society that needs the Resurrection and prays with us that this Easter will bring light in the darkness and hope for renewed life in our world. Michael Burslem in this issue tells us of his powerful and dark experience in Egypt throughout the revolution and brings to us a call for a profound Resurrection of Society.
Easter is at the heart of who we are and who we are called to be. It calls us to a life that is more than we can ask or imagine. I hope and pray that on the last day I can say along with the church, that it is the Risen Christ that has guided me in my day to day life and has helped me to be who I am and helped me to create the 'resurrected' world that God wants for us. ...