I do not go to church any more, but fifty-plus years of liturgical worship makes an impression on a person's soul. I still live with the liturgical calendar in the back of my mind. I'm not much for all the other feasting and fasting, but the one thing I did “get” about Christianity was Lent and Easter. From my current perspective, I think the idea of resurrection is the only theological concept from Christianity that I ever bought into, although not in quite the way the nuns and priests who attempted to indoctrinate me would have liked.
For me, Easter is about new beginnings, dying to old ways and living a new life. The spring feasts from all religions are about that: Sap rising and flowers blooming; Life waking up to a new year after a long, cold, dark winter; All of sacred creation rising to new challenges and new wonders.
My biggest problem with Easter in the Church was that it was over when the last echoes of the final Alleluia faded. After the Big Event on Easter Sunday, things went back to normal and everyone continued to live the way they always had (including the politicking and back-stabbing). Nothing ever changed in any of the congregations I was affiliated with as a result of the Lent-Holy Week-Easter experience. How can a person or a congregation not be inspired by the witness of the Passion/Resurrection myths? How can we fail to make some permanent changes in the way we live your life here and now, at least occasionally?
I don't know. I do know that even though I don't go to church any more, I celebrate the Easter experience. My Easter moments do not always (or even usually) fall in line with the actual liturgical calendar, but I honor the dying and rising cycles in my own life, both the small and large ones.
This year I am experiencing a very dramatic dying and rising event. The beginning of the crisis happened to coincide almost exactly with the beginning of Lent. I'm not out of the woods yet, so the resurrection part will not be “complete” by Easter, but that's where the Church's witness helps me more than anything: even when I'm still on the Via Dolorosa or, perhaps, in the dark of the Tomb itself, Scripture's Easter morning stories offer both comfort in the darkness of the now and hope for the inevitable resurrection that is to come.
Christ the Lord is Risen today. Alleluia.
I propose to do the same. Alleluia. Amen.