The Resurrection aspect of the Easter story has always been a difficult thing to navigate.
It’s a sensitive space in which different ‘beliefs’ need to be held in tension. They were held in tension in the early days of the emerging Christian Community but the process of ‘engineering’ a particular orthodox perspective meant that other views were shut down or suppressed. However, regardless of where people sit on the spectrum of belief, the resurrection experience retains its mystery.
Clearly something happened after the crucifixion that impacted upon everyone who had been close to Jesus.
We also know from our own experiences of grief and desolation when someone we love dies, that we are open to all kinds of hopes and longings and indeed mysterious experiences that can’t be easily explained away. So, there we have it – the mystery remains and so does the ‘truthiness’ of it. By ‘truth’ I mean that whatever took place in Jerusalem over a few days, a small band of women and men were transformed from being utterly dejected and without hope, to being a resurrected community full of life. They were brought back from the dead.
Wendy Smith, who is part of our faith community, can relate to this story and this desolating experience. In her own words she says; “I experienced my own resurrection. When Kit died, I couldn’t imagine life without him or what the future held. Now I have a new life – a resurrection – and it is a good life and I am so grateful for the support and fellowship of the church in contributing to that”.
Last Sunday, Wendy shared with me a thoughtful article which is worth circulating. It’s a short but profound extract from a book by Catholic writer Megan McKenna – Not Counting Women and Children: Neglected Stories from the Bible.
She writes, “Once in a parish mission when I was studying this scripture (Luke 7: 11-17) with a large group, someone called out harshly, ‘Have you ever brought someone back from the dead?’ I had been saying that life happens when we are interrupted, and that some of the most powerful acts of resurrection happen to the least likely people; that we are the people of resurrection and hope, called to live passionately and compassionately with others, to defy death, to forgive, and to bring others back into the community, to do something that is life-giving, that fights death and needless suffering. And then this challenge from the back of the church.
“My response was ‘Yes.’ I went on to say, ‘Every time I bring hope into a situation, every time I bring joy that shatters despair, every time I forgive others and give them back dignity and the possibility of a future with me and others in the community, every time I listen to others and affirm them and their life, every time I speak the truth in public, every time I confront injustice — yes — I bring people back from the dead.’ “