I just realized on this Easter Weekend that I’ve been writing about resurrection for seven years without realizing I was doing so.
Our word comes from Latin roots, from a verb that meant to rise again or arise anew. Since February of 2011, I’ve been writing and editing a story about a boy and his friends in a reimagined Egypt in 1934 and 1935. As the story played out like a vivid movie in my spirit, I gradually learned that the story is about the power of the mind, the depth of the human spirit, the strength of love, the nature of true friendship, the vital importance of wisdom in everything we do, and the many contours of goodness. It's also about the special abilities we all have available to us that we too rarely experience. What I didn’t realize was that perhaps resurrection is the main thread around which all the others are woven.
Can a boy rise anew from the life of an ordinary child in a small village to serve his kingdom as a prince? Can a nation rise from the ashes of turmoil and great political damage to a new and better life? But finally, and most importantly, is a moral and spiritual resurrection possible within the confines of this life or beyond for a individual whose journey has been corrupted by decades of wrong choices and motivations?
As a Christian, I celebrate a unique resurrection this weekend. But as the best theologians of my tradition have long pointed out, the myth of resurrection has long been present in the human spirit, across cultures, and throughout history. The distinctive Christian claim is that at one particular place and time, and in a distinct individual from another small village, the myth was finally embodied and made real at a new level, for the benefit of us all.
The idea reverberates through all of life. In the world of vegetation, there is death and then revival. In our careers in the world, we’re sometimes like the fantastical Phoenix, who goes down in flames and rises afresh from the ashes. We want to believe in radical and positive transformation. But is it really possible? I think it is. And that’s an implication of the message of Easter, when a tragic death brings new and transformed life. I see now that I’ve been writing about it without realizing I was doing so for the past seven years—its possibility and hope and reality.
My Easter wish is that we all experience that possibility and hope and reality anew in this special season and throughout the days to come.