Easter follows the Jewish calendar because the Last Supper was celebrated on the Judean Passover. In the Kingdom of Judea, where Jesus was born, Passover was celebrated two days before the rest of Israel. The Gospel notes that the Passover Lambs in Jerusalem were being slaughtered as Christ was being put to death. But Passover is not about death. It is about the rebirth of a nation as God's chosen people were freed from Egypt and eventually permitted to return home.
Easter is not about the death of our Savior. Rather it is about rebirth. Christ rose from the dead, walking among, and eating with, his people in a glorified body.
Isn't it remarkable that these defining religious holidays come at the onset of Spring? The Northern Hemisphere is experiencing the rebirth of nature. The Sun, no longer merely providing light, provides warmth. Animals, which had gone into hibernation, or migrated south, return. Trees, which took on the appearance of death, blossom and open their leaves. Flowers sprout from the ground again and open their fragrant blooms.
There is life! Each year we are given a reminder that there will be rebirth; that there will be new life.
Two people I know passed away during Holy Week. Whenever someone passes, there is always the pain of loss. However, for Christians, there is hope.
When a child is conceived, it is a miracle that is far more than biology and the other disciplines of science can truly explain. From that conception, the child undergoes profound development and changes. This all occurs in a place that is familiar and secure but where light and sound can only be vaguely perceived. In the fullness of time, the child grows uncomfortable, perceive a greater destiny, and in some way longs for the world to come. In the final moments of gestation, there is discomfort, perhaps pain, certainly fear, then confusion as you arrive in an utterly alien environment. The child is born. Soon after, there is comfort in the arms of the mother.
In the same way, by a miracle of God, a soul is merged with a body. The mind, the Soul, and the entire essence of the person undergoes profound development and changes from infancy, to childhood, to young adulthood, to middle age, and old age. Each of these periods are also a developmental process where the challenges and struggles mold and change us. We become familiar and comfortable with this mortal life though we know that we can only perceive knowledge, truth, and divine wisdom but vaguely. In time, in some ways, we long for the world to come. In the final moments of this gestation period we call human life, there is discomfort, perhaps pain, certainly fear, and likely confusion as you arrive in an utterly alien environment. Yet we can know with confidence that we will then find comfort in the arms of our creator.
In When a child is born, if there are tears, they are tears of joy. When a loved one passes, there are tears. As a hopeful people, in addition to sadness of loss, they should also be tears of joy at the birth of this soul into the next life. In the fullness of time, we will join and be joined by our loved ones. There is hope. There is birth and rebirth.
The Easter Season should be an annual reminder of life after death. That there should always be hope. That there is perpetual renewal.