Life always finds a way. So said Jeff Goldblum in the first Jurassic Park movie. Sometimes, quite inadvertently, the clever storytellers of Hollywood can land on a word of truth.
Indeed, life will find a way. Not because of any cleverness on our part, not because we can re-make ourselves, but because the Author of life, God our Creator, broke through the bonds of death. The whole of creation was reborn – and we were transfigured – in the dawning light of the first Easter. He whom the women – and everyone else – thought to have been among the dead, was alive; Jesus had arisen at the command of his Father. Life, God’s true gift, had found a way over death through the resurrection of Christ.
None of this was our doing. In all our cleverness and human ingenuity, no matter what we have tried to do to manufacture lives according to our own image, none of it has worked in the end. It can’t; we are not the authors of life itself. To think otherwise is a deep lie, often told by those in power or who have influence over our lives. It is the lie we tell ourselves, in a rash hope that things might be better if only we were able to re-create ourselves. But this deception only ever imposes a kind of violence on us; it has only ever led to death.
There are some obvious ways in which death marks our humanity. The loss of the common good among one another in the pandemic we are living through; the violence of tyranny in the piecemeal world war playing out in Ukraine and other places of the world; the false promises of technological or social progress dishonestly marketing a more advanced humanity for the few. And then there are all the domestic ways in which we have forgotten how to hope for a liveable good, and to work for the good of each other.
Jesus knew that such public and personal deceits, at the heart of our humanity, would only ever lead to our demise; and he knew we could not overcome them ourselves. So, he took it all upon himself on the cross. Jesus entrusted his life to his Father, so as to find a way out for us from death – our deaths – to life. To paraphrase the words of St Paul, Jesus took us with him into the tomb to join him in death, so that, as he was raised from the dead by the Father’s glory, we too might live a new life. (cf. Rm 6.3)
Life did find a way. Christ went into the midst of our deaths, and reaching out to grab hold of our hand, he has drawn us back into life. This is the Resurrection; this is Easter: to be held by the hand of the risen Jesus, and to trust that he will hold onto our lives. We do not need to despair, or buy into a false utopia, or believe the lies of those who do not have our good in mind, or succumb to imposing our will on others. All these are paths to death, but the risen Jesus has overcome them all.
Easter reminds us to head towards the dawn, and into the light where we can rediscover our God-given identity, find our personal tasks, and work for our common humanity. We do not have to go far to do this – just head to our families and households, our neighbourhoods and communities. It is there that the dawn awaits. Christ is the dawn into our lives, and the light of our new day. In his light, we will find a way to see our world, and ourselves, reborn.
Jesus is indeed alive. Alleluia! And, in him, so are we.
Easter blessings to you all.
Christian Bergmann12 August 2022
Fiona Basile10 August 2022