Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Easter on Halloween

Last night we watch Practical Magic to participate in Halloween. In short, Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman bring back a man from the dead and are haunted by his spirit. I won't give away the ending just in case you desperately want to see this C+ movie, but as we were going to bed, it struck me that ghost stories are about letting the dead stay dead. Danny responded that there seems to be something innate in us that knows that it is unnatural to bringing the dead back to life. If we do disturb the dead, scary things happen.

Then, Danny said that there is one story where someone coming back to life isn't scary.

This one story would be the story of Jesus' resurrection. My first response was to agree. Of course Jesus' raising from the dead is a good thing and a happy thing. All the pastel colors, smiling faces, and soft and cuddly bunnies of Easter usually invoke joy in my spirit. Fear for my life and shaking at seeing a dead man alive are not my responses at Easter.

But maybe they should be. With all the images and feelings of Halloween night in my head, the resurrection did not seem that warm and fuzzy. It was actually kind of terrifying. No wonder the first thing Jesus said was do not be afraid. I mean, he was a DEAD MAN literally walking! Now, we can intellectualize that he was neither ghost nor zombie, but a human again. BUT he was no longer human in the same sense as we are human today. He did look different. I am truly surprised that S**t is not recorded as Mary's first word when she saw Jesus. She was coming to anoint a dead body and instead encounters one that is very much alive. Sounds like a Halloween movie to me.

Shouldn't our reaction be similar to a scary movie when we encounter the only person in history who has died and come back to life? Shouldn't we be fearful of what this person could do to us if they can't die? Shouldn't we be shaking and terrified?

Well, no. Why? Because Jesus, in his utmost compassion, says don't be afraid. It is a good thing he is alive. It means that we won't die if we believe in his sacrifice. It means that we don't have to pay for all the wrong things we have done. He welcomes us under his sacrifice and we no longer have to be afraid...of anything.

But, the fear and awe that Mary and the Disciples felt when they first saw Jesus is lost on us during the Easter season. For me, I enjoy the celebration part of Jesus' resurrection. I like the candy, dancing, and happiness. The truth is that Jesus does have a ton of power. It isn't that he never died, but he died and came back to life. A man that can do that is more than a man and that kind of power is scary. I need to be a bit more reverent when I remember this incredible (and a bit creepy) miracle.

Maybe we should reflect more on the resurrection during Halloween in order to restore our awe of the only man who has come back from the dead. Maybe we should be reminded of the scary part of the resurrection. Maybe we should carefully consider someone doing what we know is not "natural".

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