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A Brief Reflection on Easter

On the one hand . . .

“Vanity, vanity, says the teacher, all is vanity. . . So I hated life, because the work that is done under the sun was grievous to me. All of it is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.”

Ecclesiastes 1:2; 2:17

“To be, or not to be, that is the question:
Whether ’tis Nobler in the mind to suffer
The Slings and Arrows of outrageous Fortune,
Or to take Arms against a Sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them: to die, to sleep
No more; and by a sleep, to say we end
The heart-ache, and the thousand Natural shocks
That Flesh is heir to? ‘Tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wished. To die to sleep”

Hamlet
Act 3, scene 1

“There is only one really serious philosophical question, and that is suicide. Deciding whether or not life is worth living is to answer the fundamental question in philosophy.”

Albert Camus
Le Mythe de Sisyphe

On the other hand . . .

“The two [disciples] were running together; and the other disciple ran ahead faster than Peter and came to the tomb first; and stooping and looking in, he saw the linen wrappings lying there; but he did not go in. And so Simon Peter also came, following him, and entered the tomb; and he saw the linen wrappings lying there, and the face-cloth which had been on His head, not lying with the linen wrappings, but rolled up in a place by itself. So the other disciple who had first come to the tomb then also entered, and he saw and believed.”

John 20:4-8

“Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who reside as aliens . . . Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls.”

I Peter 1:1-9

Peter knew two things: (1) life is hard, but (2) the tomb is empty. In this world we are “aliens” living as strangers in a strange land. Often we are distressed, our hearts filled with pain and our minds fogged by confusion. Is it any wonder that philosophers through the ages have wondered whether it is worth it to go on struggling?

Peter answers this question with a resounding “Yes, it is worth it!” Because of Jesus’ work at Calvary we have a “living hope” of an imperishable inheritance, and because of this hope even in the midst of our pain we can have a joy that is unspeakable and full of glory. Peter knew firsthand what he was talking about. He saw the empty tomb with his own eyes, which is why he was able to write: “For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty.” 2 Peter 1:16.

Yes, Peter knew. The tomb is empty and there is hope.

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7 Responses to A Brief Reflection on Easter

  1. Thanks Barry.

    Happy Easter my dear friend.

  2. As long as we have Hope, we have everything, including a comparable measure of the other two theological virtues, faith and charity, since, like so many other things at the level where the physical meets the spiritual, they seem to form a continuum.

    This is, perhaps, unsurprising, since the Fathers of the church have identified the ‘wedding garment’ in Christ’s parable as Charity, the sovereign virtue, as well as the key to the supernatural merit of all the virtues. It might also have been indicated by the garment of whole cloth which Jesus had been wearing on the day of his crucifixion.

    Solzhenitsyn’s anecdote, in A Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, based on an experience in his own life in the Gulag Archipelago, perfectly illustrates how supremely seminal and life-transforming hope is. For anyone not familiar with the story, here it is:

    “Along with other prisoners, he worked in the fields day after day, in rain and sun, during summer and winter. His life appeared to be nothing more than backbreaking labor and slow starvation. The intense suffering reduced him to a state of despair.

    On one particular day, the hopelessness of his situation became too much for him. He saw no reason to continue his struggle, no reason to keep on living. His life made no difference in the world. So he gave up.

    Leaving his shovel on the ground, he slowly walked to a crude bench and sat down. He knew that at any moment a guard would order him to stand up, and when he failed to respond, the guard would beat him to death, probably with his own shovel. He had seen it happen to other prisoners.

    As he waited, head down, he felt a presence. Slowly he looked up and saw a skinny old prisoner squat down beside him. The man said nothing. Instead, he used a stick to trace in the dirt the sign of the Cross. The man then got back up and returned to his work.

    As Solzhenitsyn stared at the Cross drawn in the dirt his entire perspective changed. He knew he was only one man against the all-powerful Soviet empire. Yet he knew there was something greater than the evil he saw in the prison camp, something greater than the Soviet Union. He knew that hope for all people was represented by that simple Cross. Through the power of the Cross, anything was possible.

    Solzhenitsyn slowly rose to his feet, picked up his shovel, and went back to work. Outwardly, nothing had changed. Inside, he had received hope.”

  3. 3
    material.infantacy

    Happy Easter everyone.

    The tomb is empty. I think I’ll take the Emmaus road.

  4. 4

    Material: One of my favorite quotes one man to the other: “Were our hearts not burning inside us?”

  5. 5
    material.infantacy

    Barry, what a wonderful choice for a favorite. Do not all of our hearts burn within us, in eager expectation for liberation from the bondage of decay.

    And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself. — Luke 24:27

    This was a revelation for me, that the whole of the Old Testament, from the Torah through the prophets, testified of Jesus Christ. This is of course present in the prophets; and less obvious but no less profound, in historical models (types and shadows) and in Jewish religious liturgy.

    Pray for the peace of Jerusalem; they shall prosper that love thee. — Psalm 122:6

    Be blessed.

  6. Pray for the peace of Jerusalem; they shall prosper that love thee. — Psalm 122:6

    But the Jerusalem which is above is free, and *she* is *our* mother. – Gal. 4:26

  7. 7

    AMEN!!!!

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