As my regular readers know, I am not the kind of person who believes things just because a bunch of other people believe them. I ask questions, I read exhaustively and study everything I can find to study and then come to my own conclusion. Even as a kid, the idea that a guy was killed on a cross and came back to life a few days later didn’t make a whole lot of sense. I mean, he died, the stories of return are not the same, his most faithful followers didn’t recognize him, it says he came back on the “third day,” but Sunday morning isn’t three days after Friday night, blah, blah, blah. It doesn’t make sense as a journalistic report of true events.
Of course, in my adult studies of religion and in particular Jewish oral history, I learned that being “factual” was not the point. They were much more concerned with Truth than they were with “truth,” and in that context I have been able to find depth of meaning that was missing when I was tried to analyze the cognitive dissonance of the New and Old Testaments.
In more practical terms, what is resurrection and why do we celebrate it every year? It kind of depends on who you are, right? Like Luke Skywalker heading into the Dark Side cave on Dagobah, we often encounter exactly what we expect to encounter in life. Easter Sunday is generally one of the two times when Christian churches experience record attendance, but are people going because it’s what they have always done and a big family meal is sure to follow, or are they there to experience their own resurrection?
A very good friend of mine, Heiwa No Bushi, recently reminded me of his perspective that resurrection and enlightenment are one and the same. He would know, as he combines the teachings of Jesus and The Buddha on his spiritual walk, and it’s hardly coincidental that the two go together as well as they do. If you have never encountered this, shall we say, Dyad in The Force, simply Google “Jesus and Buddha” and you will find plenty of reason to drop down that rabbit hole.
So what does it mean to become enlightened, or be resurrected? I believe the answer is very personal, and likely different for each of us. Is there some mistake from our past we have not forgiven ourselves for? Perhaps we harbor a grudge against someone who wronged us in the past? Perhaps we make the opposite mistake and focus on the future to the extent that we neglect the present? Maybe we have a demon to slay, such as drug abuse, alcoholism or even smoking. Resurrection can mean imagining a better future where we overcome such obstacles and renew our lives in the dawn of a new, powerful self image.
That’s the kind of resurrection I can really get behind!