Easter, the primary and defining celebration of Christianity has arrived. Lent has passed and now we transition into a more joyful season as we celebrate the resurrection and reflect on what it actually means on a practical level.
Still, this supernatural aspect appears to defy reason, logic, and even appears to contradict the reality of suffering and death we see in the real world. In our times –no less than in the days of the Roman empire –the Easter claim presents a stumbling block that many people cannot seem to overcome.
For those who are truly curious enough to investigate, there are answers to the historical questions of the resurrection. But the prevailing materialistic worldview of our times presents a challenge to to be overcome even though enough research has been undertaken on the topic to show that the most common specific arguments and objections to the claim are even less plausible than the claim itself.
Still, the idea of such an event is so surreal, that even those closest to Jesus had difficulty comprehending. For many people, such things take time to accept intellectually and therefore must first be accepted on faith if accepted at all. Only later, after one has actually put the faith into practice does its plausibility become apparent.
I think Soren Kirkegaard explained it well.
“Recall that the Savior of the world did . . . not try by way of reasons to prevail upon anyone to accept his teaching, nor did he try to authenticate it by demonstrable proofs.
His teaching was his life, his existence. If someone wanted to be his follower, he said to that person something like this, “Venture a decisive act; then you can begin, then you will know.
. . .The proof does not precede but follows; it exists in and with the life that follows Christ.
Once you have ventured the decisive act, you are at odds with the life of this world. You come into collision with it, and because of this you will gradually be brought into such tension that you will then be able to become certain of what Christ taught.”
from Provocations: Spiritual Writings of Kierkegaard Compiled and Edited by Charles E. Moore“Copyright 2011 by The Plough Publishing House. Used with permission.
The challenge set before me as I face Easter is clear. Only to the extent that I joyfully “incarnate” Christ’s message into every aspect of my life, can I reflect the message of the resurrection in a compelling way.
If we fail to heroically live the message, as did the Saints, we only contribute to the climate of skepticism that poisons our efforts.
Nothing about Christianity is easy, but love is sacrifice — and only the most powerful brand of love is capable of conquering death.