Life as Easter People
Rev. Dr. DeWayne L. Davis
“We should become people in whom others can see new life, and people who introduce that new life wherever the world is stultifying and life-denying” —Paula Gooder, The Risen Existence: The Spirit of Easter
After the Easter holy day is over, many of us turn our focus immediately to other things, such as graduation season, holidays like Mother’s Day and Memorial Day, and summer plans and vacations. It’s hard to view Easter as a season rather than just a one-day event. However, more so than any other Christian feast day, Easter is filled with messages, proclamations, and images that offer us a meaningful opportunity to shape our lives and witness to the world to keep the spirit of Easter alive throughout the year.
What does it look like to live in a way that transmits and embodies Easter hope in our daily experiences? What does it look like to live in a way that death is not a preoccupying feature of our existence? How do we reveal what it means to live hopefully and abundantly in those places that feel closed, dying, or like dry bones? The theologian Paula Gooder invites us to consider a risen existence for a world filled with people unable to imagine new life because of the persistent hold of death and the stubborn injustices that prevail in the world. We sing and celebrate that Jesus’ resurrection means that death has lost its sting and its hold over us. Does the way we live reflect that understanding?
I pray we embrace our identity as Easter people, in which we bear witness to the resurrection as God’s alternative ordering of the world where love is stronger than hate; where all God’s children can trust that God will answer injustice; where peace and justice are not buzzwords or the wishes of a utopian dream. Easter people embrace the resurrection as a liberation moment for all, reminding us that God is not satisfied to let death be the final word. Resurrection becomes an ongoing experience for us because we know that life will defiantly find a way. It tells us that when God raised Jesus from the grave, Jesus ushered in a new age of uprising against all that binds us; against the sin that has a hold over us; against death, which steals life and murders our calm; against the systems and structures that tried to silence him and seek to silence us; against a world that wants to stamp out all that is good, loving, and forgiving; against anything that opposes what makes all God’s children whole. I pray we let the world in on this way of living, in which our embodied testimony is that love, grace, and justice will always prevail over fear, violence, and death. May it be so.