Easter was really big. Not as big as Christmas, but it was big. As a child, I was excited about Easter egg hunts and chocolate bunnies. When a young boy I was taught, both at home and Sunday school, the amazing biblical story about Jesus being raised from the dead. I'll always remember Easter as a happy time with family, celebrations and parties. Growing older, I was taught the Christian faith at home, Sunday school and Church.
Easter is for many Christians the most important observance of the Christian year, but even so, today many Christians are asking, what really happened on the first Easter morning? Did Jesus, in fact, rise bodily from the dead? For me, Easter is a mystery beyond all human knowledge and reasoning. I have read every book I could find on the subject. I have heard theologians' debate and heard pastors preach and teachers teach. I've come to realize I will not find my answer in a book, sermon or class and accept that for me the "Resurrection" remains a mystery. I also accept that many others believe the Easter story is literal and accept that all biblical stories are factual.
The documented story of Jesus is real and historically true. The story is also found in the sacred history of the Hebrews and is told in the Bible. It's a story about a first century Hebraic Jew. He came to a world that was brutal, barbaric and unloving. His followers believed he walked with God. He fed the hungry, restored the disenfranchised, healed the sick and taught we should love everybody always. He taught by example and by word how to live, love and experience our own personal relationship with God.
Now, at 93 years of age, in my quiet time, I ask: Do I try to love like Jesus? Do I care about the poor, the hungry and the homeless? Do I hear the pain of people of color fighting for equality and justice? As I look at our country and the world today, I wonder, how can all the broken pieces be healed?
Jesus asks his followers to "pick up their cross and follow him." He challenges them to confront the crosses of poverty, racism, inequality, violence, injustice, oppression of the LGBTQ community, a world that values money over everything else, and a country that has refused to welcome the immigrants seeking a better life. It's a task that calls for reason, compassion and social justice. The path we choose to follow will be our journey through life. Is there hope for the future? I believe the answer is yes, because deep in my heart I hear Bill and Gloria Gaither's beautiful song "Because He Lives": "Because He lives, I can face tomorrow, Because He lives, all fear is gone; Because I know He holds the future, and life is worth the living, just because He lives."
George Lindholm is a resident of Hot Springs Village and a regular contributor to Letters to the editor.