For many local Christians, last Easter felt refreshingly normal. Emerging from quite a bit longer than three days trapped in our own tombs of isolation and quarantine, the chance to once again …
For many local Christians, last Easter felt refreshingly normal. Emerging from quite a bit longer than three days trapped in our own tombs of isolation and quarantine, the chance to once again meet with loved ones (and to even see their full, uncovered faces) was sweeter than any chocolates left behind by a bipedal rabbit. The mystery of the Resurrection, the spiritual cornerstone of the Christian faith, mirrored the wider secular experience of returning to life in a world that had felt lost to us.
This year, however, one might be forgiven for suggesting that the holiday feels disappointingly normal. Extended family has once again become familiar – which, as the adage goes, is never far from breeding contempt. Even the world around us has lost much of the shine that it had when the stone of Covid was first rolled back. For those of us hoping to emerge back into a world where shared suffering had created a new sense of understanding in our world and in our nation, we have instead stepped out to find raging fires of political division, roiling economic instability, and the deadliest European war in almost a century.
It’s enough to make one nostalgic for the tomb, frankly.
Another seasonal holiday offers a meaningful point of comparison. On the evening of April 5, local Jews will begin their celebration of Pesach, or Passover. Like the Hebrews in Egypt, we have been spared from the touch of death (although the invisible killer which menaced us was far less predictable in its choice of prey). And yet the joy of Passover served as merely the prequel to forty long years of starving and stumbling through the desert sands, daydreaming about the comparative joys of Egyptian slavery.
The challenge implicit in both the Christian concept of the Resurrection and the Jewish narrative of deliverance is that both mark a beginning rather than an end. Both the Seder and the celebration of Easter commemorate specific events, but that celebration draws us out of history and into eternity. The joy of salvation may quickly lose its novelty, but the work of salvation never lessens in its ardor. Ours is a broken, a fractured, a painfully divided world – a world in which brother openly takes up arms against brother, and where apathy is often the most comfortable option available to us.
And yet, as these holy days remind us, there is some hope which burns eternally. Across religious, racial, and cultural lines, there is some indefinable hope which continues to shine, even when pestilence gives way to war and hatred. And however comfortable the tomb may seem at times, it is this imperishable hope that reminds us we were not made for its confines.
We were made for life.
Happy Easter – and chag Pesach samech – from Cranston Herald.
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