Of all the public holidays we get and the religious celebrations our culture participates in, Easter would be my favourite. Not just for the fact that we get four days off, but it forces me to stop and reflect.
Life just goes slow for four days, and there isn’t the huge build up that Christmas seems to bring. It’s different, and I like that.
Mostly though, I love the Easter story because it discusses a taboo subject: death. In our world it’s called ‘passing on‘ or ‘passing over‘, but what we’re actually talking about is death. People dying. The people we love and care about will die. This isn’t supposed to be some morbid yarn, rather a truth our culture tries to water down.
In our vain attempt to conceal and ignore the messy, hard and yuck moments of life, God approaches the topic head on. He demonstrates the messiness of life through death – the death of his son on a cross.
Easter also explores a second taboo: hope. Read any self-help book and you’ll quickly discover that having hope is silly. They’ll tell you that if all you do is hope then you aren’t working hard enough. They’ll tell you that if you’re simply hoping for something then you’ve already lost and will never succeed.
Hope, we’re told, is for those who don’t want to work hard, or are simply wishing upon the fairies and unicorns to achieve great things.
I don’t buy this definition of hope.
I love that Easter mixes these two subjects together to create the most beautiful of outcomes. In death, comes life and in hope, there is the core longing that tomorrow will be better than today.
Easter reminds us all that there is a story of hope in the midst of death, tragedy and trouble. It reminds us that even when we feel lost and overwhelmed, there is a story that offers an alternative if we’re willing to hear it.
And it matters not where you find yourself on the spiritual spectrum, the story of overcoming death and finding life is one we can all connect with.