As Easter approaches there are a number of voices, both on the blogs and in many churches across the country that will triumphally assert the bodily resurrection of Jesus, proclaiming it as the basis for Christian faith. My question is this: can Easter be religiously significant for those of us who are not likely to think in such terms?
I admit that I'm agnostic about the afterlife so what could a phrase like "conquering death" mean for someone in such a situation? William James writes this concering the hope of religious faith: "she says that the best things are the more eternal things, the overlapping things, the things in the universe that throw the last stone, so to speak, and say the final word."
Or as 1 John 2:17 puts it this "world is passing away with all its allurements, but he who does God's will stands for evermore" I'm apt to believe that the faith of Easter is found here, in the hope that despite the array of forces against it, reconciling love has the final word. It wasn't killed at the crucifixion but rather continues when disciples everywhere break bread together.
And that somehow when we participate in this, we're participating in something which is larger than us and will continue on. 1 John writes of eternal life not as a spatial location but rather something which "dwells" within us, when we love one another. It is through one's acts of love that we touch something of immortality.
Sometimes this is not an easy faith to hold, given the state of the world. But 1 John 2:8b calls us to check back at our experience, to see that the "real light is already shining". Instead of looking at an empty tomb, maybe this is the calling we have. To participate with this reconciling spirit and to discern where such a spirit is already at work in this world, trusting that in doing so we're touching the eternal.