Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Easter Sermon from the Non-Christian

Okay, Jesus died on the cross. He rose from the dead a couple days later. He hung around for a little bit and went to heaven. Because of all of this we have Cadbury Eggs. Glory Hallelujah!!

As a dedicated Christeaster, I make sure to make it to my wife’s families’ Catholic Church twice a year, sometimes more (especially if my wife is being a Cantor). This year as I stood in the back of a crowded church, I started to wonder why there was only one woman in the entire congregation wearing an Easter bonnet and if there really was anything me as a non-Christian could get out of this holy day.

I didn’t really come up with much.

Then today at work one of my co-workers was telling me how she went to a funeral and watched a mother bury her son who died of cancer. The death had not been quick but rather long and painful. This was one of the instances were mercy came in death, not life.

The mother was inconsolable. As the people went outside into the cold and the wind she turned away from the casket. On this day when she buried her son, it was simply too much for her to watch her child be placed into the earth. This made me think.

The life of Christ is a story to me. I don’t believe that everything in the Bible is factually true. I agree that Jesus Christ is a real historic figure but as to his miracles and the circumstances of his death, resurrection and ascension . . . eh . . . I don’t personally believe that stuff. Regardless of your belief in Christ, the story of his life is amazing and is one of the most revealing and important reflections in our culture of the human condition.

Look death is scary. It is the ultimate unknown and the resurrection of Christ provides answers about the afterlife, proof that there is something beyond. It’s a story that I would love to believe. How wonderful would it be to known that if we do good we will get a reward, that there is some universal logic that balances our actions and our consequences?

One thing that I took exception to at the sermon I heard on Sunday was the idea that non-Christians are constantly looking for answers about the afterlife. I mean, I do wonder about it, but most of the time I just focus on being the best me that I can be when I am alive.

No one should have to bury his or her child. It’s a horrible, unimaginable prospect. Maybe there is comfort in the story of Easter that can help us get through these tough times, maybe not.

When my co-worker told me about the funeral something hit me deep down inside. Maybe it has to do with my age, or maybe it’s something deeper. Or maybe there is something in our own humanity that we all share.

Easter is one answer, one way to deal with the inevitable in our lives to make sense of it all. For those who believe the story, it’s the reality of humanity and for the rest of us it’s a reminder of the fears that tears us apart and the hope that binds us together.

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