It makes such sense that we resort to eggs filled with candy, bunny rabbits, elaborate lunches, and our finest clothes. How else would we function without a few simple rituals while we immerse ourselves in the violence of Good Friday and the absurdity of Easter morning.
I read the Easter story to the boys last night. In place of our regular bedtime books, I told them of bitter weeping and swords and clubs, the crowds and the single kiss, provocation and condemnation, pointed fingers and shouts of rage, denial and silence, isolation and public execution.
The boys’ eyes grew wide and little bodies so still. They were captivated, confused, and even a bit scared. They kept pushing for me to turn the page and read one more story as if that next page might resolve the tension or provide some absolution to the violence. But I knew this wasn’t possible. The next page merely added another layer to the complex mystery whose miracle exists with wounds still fresh. I knew that the story of our resurrected Lord is one of a breathing but punctured body at the hands of human atrocity.
I, too, still struggle every Easter. Would I turn the next page of scripture, of some theological book, of some experience, of some sermon, will I find resolution or absolution? Will I find full redemption of human brutally that eases the Good Friday reality?
Syria. Slavery. S-Town.
Authoritarianism. Abuse. Anxiety.
Persistent and predictable.
Our dualistic culture, my human mind, and even our clearly delineated Holy Week rituals would have me choose Good Friday or Easter morning. But that would be an oversimplification, a falsehood, an illusion… the kind that dissolves upon use.
“In the ultimate depths of his being, man knows nothing more surely than that his knowledge, that is, what is called knowledge in everyday parlance, is only a small island in a vast sea that has not been travelled…Hence the existential question for the knower is this: Which does he love more, the small island of his so-called knowledge or the sea of infinite mystery?” – Karl Rahner
On this Easter morning, I resolve to know nothing.
I resolve to see the irony that knowledge (the very gift to humanity in God’s creation) is that which puts the crown on my head and causes others to bow and worship my undeserving feet. I resolve to pray “forgive me” in unrelenting footsteps pounded on the ground, running to the tomb to offer some small gift as if it could resurrect the ones I kill.
I resolve to know nothing except Christ crucified.
I resolve to proclaim the crucified and resurrected Christ – a truth that defies human wisdom, appears as total foolishness, and yet is the mystery that saves me hour by hour. I resolve to receive any understanding of this mystery as gift. I resolve to accept revelation as it comes and be content with its finger pointing to the greater mystery beyond my reach.
This Easter morning, I pause and give thanks for the revealed gospel on which I stand and the mysterious sea I worship.