Easter: looking the future straight in the eye

Easter in our secular culture is very strange. Tons of chocolate will be consumed, children will hunt for hidden eggs, and rabbits suddenly become important, but with no clear reason why. Easter in our sophisticated but utterly confused society is mostly an excuse to take time off work and fill children’s lives with meaningless rituals.

The meaningless of it all comes into sharper focus because of the increasingly dour predictions of our future on this planet. More people in high places are becoming deeply concerned about the fragile state of our global economy and how long the Earth’s resources can keep up with our appetites. Put that together with the massive expense and destruction of natural disasters, war, disease, poverty and all the other awful things wrecking people’s lives, and our obsession with chocolate eggs and rabbits becomes rather silly, don’t you think?

The original Easter, however, wasn’t the frivolous nonsense it is today. Easter in its original meaning looked the future straight in the eye and answered the question once and for all, “What happens to us after we die?”

And wouldn’t any sane-thinking person want to know that? We’ve got enough cemeteries around clearly demonstrating to us that one day this human life of ours comes to an end, so wouldn’t we obviously be wondering whether there’s a life after this one, or this is it? But how many people actually do wonder? Even at funerals do they wonder? I imagine some people at funerals believe in an afterlife for the person who died, but what that afterlife is like probably varies hugely in the minds of those attending, because all religions differ on what happens to us after death. No two religions agree. No wonder it all seems terribly vague as to what kind of life awaits us, if any, or how it comes about. 

But what a crazy situation to be in, because we put ourselves to a huge amount of trouble and stress trying to survive this life and make something of ourselves, and we write millions of words on what we think life is all about and how to live it, but we still have no real proof about what happens after this life comes to end, and neither can we all agree.

Easter, however, tells us exactly what’s going to happen. It even tells us we can experience a taste of our future before we die, so we have no doubt as to what’s coming after we die, because when Jesus rose on Easter Sunday he took us all with him. We’re already raised to a life beyond this one, which Jesus is already living in us. 

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