At this of year, as at Christmas and Chanukah time, both the Jewish and Christian faiths have important holidays: Passover and Easter. Last week was an important week in both faiths.
I am told that one of the important themes of Passover is ‘freedom’, something which we all cherish, and is as important to our well being as love and hope. So many people of so many faiths have fought for freedom. It’s something we so easily take for granted and for many has been so hard won. Many of the freedoms we enjoy, whatever our faith, or none at all, have been fought for by others, so that we can lead a good life.
In the Christian faith, the essential message at Easter is ‘resurrection’, which is a concept that I love. In many ways, that celebration of resurrection seems like one of the most important days of the year. Good Friday is in effect a day of mourning, acknowledging the death of Christ on the cross two thousand years ago. It must have seemed then, to his followers, like a total loss of hope. The holy man that they had followed and believed in, who inspired them, was dead. It must have been a very dark day, and in traditional Christianity, Good Friday is meant to be observed as a quiet day. The notion of crucifixion, even symbolically, is a very dark thought. But the idea of resurrection is the ultimate gift of hope. The belief that Christ was risen, and had defied the grave. He emerged still scarred from the crucifixion, but his spirit and all that he represented was untouched.
Whatever one’s faith, or even without any faith, the idea of resurrection, or rebirth, of rising from all that crucifies us, dismays us, wounds and injures us, is essential to our well being. Where would we be, how would we continue and survive if we didn’t believe that we could recover from all the pains in our life—-even if we are scarred? I have always found the notion of crucifixion infinitely depressing, the darkness of it, the pain, just as we all have pains and disappointments in our lives and even great griefs. For me, the death of my son Nick. And yet no matter how hard life has been, or how sad we have been, there comes a time when we are renewed, when we rise again, when we are ‘reborn’, when we are resurrected from our private griefs. The knowledge that we can do that, that we can recover and be renewed keeps us going, and gives us the hope we need to get there.
I love the philosophical idea of Resurrection, whatever one’s faith (or lack of it). I love the idea that we can start again, try again, live again, even love again after terrible heartbreaks and disappointments. No matter how ‘crucified’ we have been by the sorrows in our life, a better day will come and we will be ‘resurrected’.
For me, resurrection is the essence of hope, and crucifixion the image of despair. I much prefer to look past Good Friday, to that day of hope. I cling to hope in dark times in my life, and the belief that we will find resurrection, better days, better times, a better life, better people who will not ‘crucify’ us as others have before.
My wish for you, and my prayers, is that you will find resurrection in your life, that you will keep your eye on hope, however crucified you feel or have been. Resurrection is possible for us all. Renewal and rebirth. I believe that to my very soul. And I hope that in dark times, you will remember that resurrection comes to us all, and with it hope. It is an idea worth clinging to, and remembering, every day of our lives.
May you feel renewed and reborn today, and if you have seen hard times in your life, may you rise from the ashes of the past. That is my hope for you and resurrection for us all.