I always get especially depressed each year around Easter. Sometimes I think it’s just because I’m wired differently than other people. I mean, most folks feel good with Spring in the air. So what’s up with my sadness and sorrow?

But then I start to think about what Easter means. Not bunnies and eggs or even blooms and bright sunshine. Not showing off new clothes in a big crowd of folks putting in their once-a-year appearance at worship. Easter—the Sunday and the 50-day season on the Christian calendar—is about God’s victory over death in the resurrection of Jesus Christ. It’s about his cosmic putdown of the powers-that-be who thought they could thwart God’s dream for humankind and all creation by killing the Holy Child of God on a cross, rolling a stone across the entrance of his tomb, and posting a guard. Easter, that is, the resurrection of Jesus, is about the triumph of life-giving over death-dealing.

I believe with all my heart that God raised Jesus from the dead and that my Savior and Lord is in fact alive and exalted, as the faithful have confessed through the centuries. My problem and my depression come precisely and ironically because I believe. God’s power is real; the resurrection story is true. So where is the evidence of such power and such life-giving in the world today? I look around and death seems to have more hold on us than ever before. War without end. Hatred of people because of what they look like or whom they choose as a life partner. Greed and corruption at the highest levels of corporations and government. In my own tradition, we are—get this—fighting each other over the report of a task force that was supposed to recommend how we could find unity!

All I want (!) is for God to give some evidence these days that his life-affirming, life-giving power is at work in a big, systemic way. Neighbor helping neighbor, little acts of kindness, a smile and a hug are not changing the world. Evil is too strong, too big, too entrenched. It’ll take something cosmic, something God-sized to bring it down.

Meanwhile, I guess I’ll just try to find signs of life in the church and the culture. I suspect it’s more likely that God will whisper than shout.

© 2006 by Tom Cheatham. All rights reserved.

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