This weekend, I’ve been reflecting heavily on Holy Week, the week between Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday. On Good Friday, I mentioned to my aunt that I was thinking of watching Passion of the Christ. She mentioned that it was hard for her to watch. I told her it was hard for me too, but that it helped me to know what my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ endured for me.
Though I have expanded in my notions of what it means to be Christian, seeing certain things as allegorical and not literal, there are many things as I see as both allegorical and literal. One of them is the death and resurrection of Jesus.
Do I think there was a man named Yeshua who walked this earth and died at the instruction of Pontius Pilate? Yes. Do I think he was hung on a cross? Yes. Do I think he resurrected from the dead? Yes. I think he resurrected through the stories we tell of Him. The fact that we are still speaking His Story almost 2000 years after his death is telling. I do not foreclose that he also resurrected as it is written in the Bible. The reason being that nothing is impossible for God. However, I do think one thing is for sure. His resurrection, be it literal or allegorical, is something that I can do every single day. That, to me, is the ultimate message of his resurrection.
Daily, I die to those things that no longer serve me. I let go of what A Course in Miracles calls the tiny mad idea and instead, opt to see miracles. That is resurrection. I die to ways of being that no longer serve me or serve the purpose for which I believe I was sent to earth. I die to my attachments, recognizing that nothing is permanent and change is inevitable.
However, on the other side of that death is new life. Just a few short weeks ago, we saw death in our midst here in Houston following a severe winter storm. All the plant life in my neighborhood was brown and looked completely destroyed. I was very worried that I might have to replace shrubs in front of my home, but God told me to be patient. I waited in spite of outside evidence that all hope was lost. And then, on the Spring Equinox, I looked out my window to see my neighbors’ azalea bushes in full bloom. Beautiful white and pink flowers stared back at me. I went out to my own shrubs and began to see little green leaves sprouting under the dead brown ones that just weeks before seemed to cover the entire shrub. Now, just a few weeks later, I see more green leaves than brown. This, too, is resurrection.
One of my favorite cards in the Tarot is the Tower and one of my favorite deities is Kali. Most people fear both, but the reason I don’t is because both are like Jesus. They signify a death before resurrection. They signify darkness before new light. They signify destruction and new life. They help me to know that death is not the end. It’s the beginning of something new. The beginning of something I have yet to experience. The beginning of a new path or new way of living.
So on this Easter Sunday, I finally understand why the angel asked Mary, why she cried. It wasn’t solely because the angel knew that Jesus was not dead, it was because the angel knew that Mary and each one of us could resurrect too. We don’t have to cry at death though it’s absolutely understandable as humans to do. We can instead realize that we’ve been given the chance to usher in a new life, both for ourselves and in our interactions with others.