Post Easter Musing
As a child I recall asking my parents why, if Jesus rose from the dead, he is still hanging on the cross in Catholic churches. Now I am asking why Christians focus so much on the narrative of death and resurrection and ignore the radical teachings of Jesus. Could it be because those teachings challenge our way of life? Did Jesus really say that we should give up our wealth, feed the hungry, clothe the poor, and LOVE OUR ENEMIES???
As a Quaker, I have come to see the meaning of the resurrection in a new way. George Fox (1624-1691) said, “Christ has come to teach His people Himself.” To me that means that Christ (the inner Light, the inward teacher, the Seed) dwells within us and is directly available. The teachings continue.
I also see the death and resurrection story as deeply rooted in human cultural experience. As a college student reading The Golden Bough by Sir James Frazer, I was amazed to learn that ancient practices in many places around the world included rituals of killing the divine king, or tree-spirit, or spirit of vegetation, and burying an effigy (a tree branch) which would then burst forth with new life. Placing the Christian narrative into this larger picture of seasonality, with the rebirth of life in the spring (in the Northern hemisphere, at least), helped me better understand it.
My joy at this time of year comes from seeing new life springing forth. In Fairbanks, Alaska, the physical manifestations are slower than elsewhere, but I sense around me evidence of spiritual awakening. This gives me hope.