“Easter, rebirth, the new phase of creation, is either a convincing inner experience which changes our character and our life, or it is nothing at all,” writes Fritz Kunkel in his book, Creation Continues. “We do not need the empty grave. To us every grave is empty, every corpse is darkness. But darker than all this is our own failure. We know what love is, but we do not love: we only want to be loved. We know responsibility and self-sacrifice and creativeness, but we choose to be arrogant or evasive, indignant or apologetic, greedy or frightened. We do not help to create the new world. We only complain that the old world disintegrates.”
“Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so” and, therefore, all is well. Jesus died to set us free and, therefore, all is well. I am a believer and, therefore, all is well. It doesn’t work that way! It is not a one-sided relationship. This is what Kunkel means when he writes, “We know what love is, but we do not love: we only want to be loved.”
Whatever else, Easter may mean, it must be “a convincing inner experience which changes our character and our life, or it is nothing at all.” Did Easter change my character and my life? Will it? Jesus calls us to love as He loves, neighbor and foe alike. The whole message of the Bible calls us to “act humanly” (love) in a broken and estranged world. Life (being fully human) my life and yours, once lost, is found, and returned to us at Easter. Easter is that event in which “a man (woman) confronts and confesses the presence and power of death in his own life—in every facet and detail, in every fact and experience of his own biography, in recollection of every word he has ever uttered and of every one he has ever known, and of every thing he has ever done while in the same event he is exposed to and beholds the power and presence of God which is greater than death. In that event he is given the power to discern God’s presence (the Living Jesus) in the world” (William Stringfellow). In the Easter event we have that unequivocal assurance that we are loved by One who loves all others, which enables us to love ourselves and frees us to love another, any other, every other, all others.
|The Bleeding Heart (Lamprocapnos spectabilis) Blooms.|
An Easter Experience in my own backyard.