A reflection by Reisa Kall
A few years ago, I readWrestling with Grace: a Spirituality for the Rough Edges of Daily Life, by Robert Corin Morris. The book can be described as offering lessons on “spiritual stress management” techniques. How do you turn “stubbing your toe” into a spiritual moment, sort of like that. The book sits on my table and beckons me sometimes. I recently picked it up again as I was preparing a reflection for the vestry.
I especially liked the chapter on Resurrection. Maybe because it is the season of Easter. I hadn’t thought about that much before, so I googled the season of Easter. Eastertide is defined as the period of fifty days from Easter Sunday to Pentecost Sunday, which is on June 9 this year. Easter does not end when all the chocolate bunnies disappear from the drug stores. This shows me how much I was paying attention to my Episcopal calendar by having to google Easter season.
As I thought about it more, I realized I needed a definition of Resurrection. I looked up the word “resurrection” in a couple of dictionaries.
The Cambridge Dictionary defines resurrection as:
the act or fact of bringing someone back to life, or bringing something back into use or existence, or in the Christian religion, the Resurrection is Jesus Christ's return to life on the third day after his death, or the return of all people to life at the end of the world.
The MacMillan Dictionary also defines resurrection as:
the act of making something exist again or of starting to use something again after it has disappeared, been forgotten, or stopped being used.
Great, I can relate. It is sort of like when I tripped and broke both my ankles a couple of years ago, and had to learn to walk again. Spiritually, Wrestling with Gracedefines resurrection as a simple word to describe a process so ordinary and recurrent that we may not see the connection to the great expectations of deliverance that the holy words can inspire. Quoting from the book, “resurrection does not just wait for Easter’s exultant dawn. It begins in the pre-dawn chill of perhaps January, and gives us the way to face every cold season or dark night.”
The Greek word for resurrection is “anastasis,” meaning simply “standing up.” Resurrection in everyday life can mean getting up again no matter what lays us flat (or what is broken). It is rising up every morning and learning to stand up again and again and facing life’s difficulties. It is getting up the morning after something really bad has happened in your life, in the life’s worst circumstances, it is getting up in the morning, even when you are exhausted.
Resurrection does not wait until Easter morning and it does not end at Pentecost. It is the life power that the seeds and bulbs yearn for in the cold nights of Advent. It is the light that delivers us, not by rejecting darkness, but by entering life’s dark moments with compassionate bravery and recognizing God’s goodness. We think that the seasons of the church year trace the life of Christ sequentially, when in fact each season manifests a different aspect of a holy loving power at work in our lives. Each season in its own way speaks of resurrection.