Today is Easter Sunday. It is a day in which the message of Easter tells us: Don’t give up; don’t quit; don’t throw in the towel. This life is not all that there is. Stay tuned. There is much more to come.
You and I need that message, probably more than we know. I suspect that this is the reason more people return to the Church on Easter than any other day of the year. Somehow, we know that human life cannot find its total expression within the limits of time. Everything here, everything around us and within us cries out for this message of Easter – the promise of more to come.
Even the casual observer cannot escape the contradiction that always surrounds our lives. There is beauty, and there is ugliness; there is love, and there is hatred; there is generosity, and there is greed; there is joy, and there is sorrow; there is life, and there is death. All these things are part of this present world. In varying degrees, we experience them every day of our lives. So then, how are we to understand this? We must either conclude that this strange mixture of good and evil is the finished product of creation; or else we must believe that God’s world is not in its final form but is moving toward some ultimate purpose that is yet to be achieved. And this is where the message of Easter becomes relevant and real.
If the world could take Jesus and nail Him to a cross as it did, and that be the end of it, you and I would be faced with some dark and dismal conclusion. It would seem that in this world, despite the presence of love and goodness and truth, hate and evil and falsehood have the final say. Life on this earth would be but a brief interlude. Death is the ultimate reality, and hope is an empty dream.
But the resurrection of Jesus overturns that verdict and completely reverses the ruling. When Jesus arose from the grave after three days, God, the Father, was saying to this world that love is stronger than hate and truth is more lasting than lies. The present order of things is a confusing hodge-podge of good and evil. At times it seems that right is forever on the scaffold, and wrong is forever on the throne. But don’t go away. God is not finished with His world just yet. There is a lot more to come.
Also, there is another deep mystery that Easter explores. Our bodies are travelling the road to death while our minds and our spirits and our souls have started on a road that has no visible end. The more we know, the more we want to know. The more we learn to love, the more we want to love. If there is no other reason for immortality, we would like to love the people we love forever.
However long and well we may live, we still have within us capacities that have never been used and possibilities that have never been fulfilled. I have known people, as I’m sure you have, who were more alive at eighty than many are at age eighteen. Their lives were not finished; they had only just begun. It would seem sheer mockery to throw the human spirit away half-finished. There is more to life than the here and now. And this is the beauty of the Easter message: Don’t fear death; don’t look back; don’t even slow down. Keep right on living with all your heart. The grave is not the end; it’s really a doorway to something greater and better. Life is not running out; it has barely started. So, stay tuned; there is much to more to come!