Today is Easter Sunday. This is the big holiday for Christians around the world: not Christmas, as so many merchants would have us believe, but TODAY, the day that we celebrate Jesus' return from the dead. Jesus features in other religious traditions, such as Judaism and Islam, but he is not hailed as the Messiah because they don't believe in his Resurrection. Bear with me. Up until this point, there are many things in the Bible that are explainable, such as Jesus being able to heal people. After all, Pharoah's magicians could replicate most of Moses's tricks. Depending on what denomination you belong to, you may be asked to believe in other miracles as well--I'm thinking of Catholics here. The commonest theme across Christianity is Easter: this is the big one. Do you really believe that a man came back from the dead and then rose up into heaven? Well? Do you? Do you believe in miracles?
I find it frustrating that today we are asked to take on faith so many things that we can't see or that aren't adequately explained to us. I'm thinking mitochondrial DNA and imaginary numbers. Does anyone else remember imaginary numbers?! Negative one to the e power or something like that?! Come on!! When I put my foot down about imaginary numbers in ninth grade, I flunked math for the first time. But we're asked to do the same thing about Jesus's life. It's hard to be a Christian today, with so many historians trying to dig up His life, or decide what parts of the Bible are "true." What exactly did He say? This is where faith comes in. What is Easter? Easter is faith. It is faith in someone who said "Follow me" two thousand years ago and is still waiting patiently on the other side of the mountain to see if we will or not.
Faith is not easy. I've taken an interest in history lately (in case you haven't noticed) and one thing I'm struck with over and over is how history books tend to condense things. Even books dedicated to a sole topic will rush events so that you are reading about battles that took place over the span of several days in a few minutes. The same thing happens with the Bible. Jesus is in the garden of Gesthemane, two minutes later He is being crucified, and then He is resurrected later on the page. But think about it: Jesus had to live each of those minutes, and throughout each of them, he had faith. Of course he had moments of doubt--He may have been divine, but he was also Human--but He never stopped believing, He never stopped trusting.
This is the truth I'm meditating on today. I didn't go to church this morning, and for once Easter didn't inspire the normal rush of joy and emotion it normally does. Instead I felt sad that Jesus was gone: Jesus has gone up to Heaven, and left us mere mortals here behind. Prayers seem very thin when what I need is someone I can go out for pizza with. Then I realised that I wasn't thinking about Jesus, I was throwing myself a pity party for being alone in a big city. Why settle for pizza when there's a banquet in heaven? Ooo--was that a little too TV evangelist? Faith, that's what gets me through: belief that next week I'll get that job or meet some new friends. Faith that our leaders are going to come to their senses and that people will start to disarm their weapons. Faith in myself and faith in Jesus. I used to kick myself for making Him too human, but now I'm reassured when I read about Him doubting. Don't we all? The point is, He had faith, and so I should have faith in Him. It's not easy, but if I start to doubt too much, there is always--always!--that little voice at the back of my head that says "trust me." Faith in something you cannot see is not the trait of a backward religious fanatic, it is a act of strength in an increasingly fragmented world. No matter what I learn or what I read, I will Believe.
He is not here. He is Risen.