The Easter story is set in a garden. It echoes the story of creation in the Old Testament and the placing by God of Adam and Eve, as his friends, in the garden of paradise.
The resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead initiates in human history the era of a new creation, one in which the world as we know and experience it is perfected. In his risen body, Jesus reveals the connectedness between time and eternity, between this material world and the reality of this new creation, in which death has no power or meaning and the things we now know to be good and beautiful have reached their fulfilment.
May you have a happy Easter and enjoy the holiday weekend. BUT, there is more to this than gardens, bunnies and chocolate eggs….
Christians throughout the world who are celebrating Easter have a responsibility to call upon all the nations of the earth, and their governments, to live better and more effectively as a global community. This is not a challenge that belongs simply to world leaders, or to the United Nations, or international aid agencies. The consequences of what each of us does with the precious gifts of water, food, clothing, and land entrusted to us will impact on the lives of others. The severe and unsustainable inequality of how the earth’s resources are used and distributed globally and locally is of importance to every one of us. My wastefulness and yours comes at the cost of poverty and misery for others.
Easter is a festival that Christians celebrate for 50 days, culminating in Pentecost, the event that exemplifies unity – not uniformity – as the context in which God is most fully experienced and understood. 50 days of celebration is not 50 days of binge drinking and eating, to make up for the 40 days we lost in Lent. It is, instead, a period for mature delight and reflection on what encounter with the risen Jesus really means.
Easter is an invitation to remember stuff we don’t often think about, and to be enriched by the remembrance. Remember where food comes from, who grew, harvested, distributed and prepared it. Remember who made and sold to you the clothes and shoes you wear, what they were paid, how long ago you bought them, and if you are throwing them out because they are no longer make the latest fashion statement, ask what the consequences of this might be for a world now short of material resources. Remember who built your home and wonder what the planning intentions were. Was space made for a community to live in and around your street that would encompass everyone – young and old, able-bodied and not – to meet and interact, irrespective of their social status and achievements?
This remembering will prompt us to ask us what we find in life that is virtuous, and what we discover to be vicious. If we seek standards by which to judge, further enquiry of the teaching of Jesus will reveal the wisdom by which to judge. The law and prophets of the Old Testament will be important points of reference; the 10 commandments will reveal some fundamentals that form the basis of justice in any wise society.
50 days of celebratory recollection is a great offer as the antidote to the contagion of destructive consumerism. It’s entirely free. And the benefits? The quality of freedom for your heart, mind, soul and body, in ways that begin to acclimatise you for heaven – a paradise without compare.
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