Alleluia! Christ is risen!
The Lord is risen indeed! Alleluia!
Ok: it is Easter – now what?
This is our first Mass of Easter, our great celebration of the Resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. But what does Easter really mean in 21st century San Francisco? Is it a time for feasting or chocolate to sit back and enjoy the annual Hunky Jesus contest in Golden Gate Park? How would you to explain Easter to someone who is completely unaware of Christianity: what would you say – or do?
In his book “Me Talk Pretty One Day,” Humorist David Sedaris writes of attending a language class in France with other immigrants. He writes:
“It was Easter season and a Moroccan student, a Muslim, raised her hand and asked in French, ‘Excuse me, but what is an Easter?’ The teacher called upon the rest of the class to help explain. The Polish students led the charge to the best of their ability. ‘It is,’ said one, ‘a party for the little boy of God who called his self Jesus …’ she faltered and swore, and one of her countrymen came to her aid, ‘He call his self Jesus, and then he die one day on two … morsels of … lumber.’ The rest of the class jumped in, offering bits of information that would have given the pope an aneurysm. ‘He died one day and then he go above my head to live with your father.’ ‘He weared of himself the long hair, and after he died, the first day he come back to say hello to all the people.’ ‘He nice, the Jesus.’”
Part of the problem was the student’s limited vocabulary. They didn’t know how the words for “cross” or “resurrection,” so Sedaris explains: “Faced with the challenge of explaining the cornerstone of Christianity, we did what any self-respecting group of people might do. We talked about food instead. “‘Easter is a party to eat of the lamb,’ one Italian explained. ‘One may too eat of the chocolate.’”
Sometimes I face this same linguistic hazard trying to talk about Easter or Jesus here in San Francisco. After walk through the valley of the shadow of silicon, it is hard to find a common language for discussing our spiritual lives. Beyond that lack of a shared understanding, resurrection is difficult to discuss because it defies all logic, rationality and common sense. Dead people don’t rest in the grave for three days and then suddenly set out of their tomb. Do they? Continue reading “Ok: it is Easter – so what now?”