Thursday, April 24, 2014

Additional thoughts on Easter

The performance of Darryl Curry's The Elephant Piece consistently highlighted the responsibility of human's to care for creation. The musical portrayed humans as sitting at the peak of the evolutionary pyramid—at least for the present. Even if one disagrees with that assessment, humans are in a unique position to shape creation's future. No other species can do so much harm, nor does any other species have the potential to make changes that appear likely to ameliorate past harms. The biblical concept for this is stewardship: humans are God's stewards (or caretakers) of creation.

The Elephant Piece also consistently highlighted the responsibility that humans have to care for one another, or at least those with whom we are kin (a concept that when taken to its logical conclusion links a person to all other humans).

Caring for creation and one another is an essential element of Easter that is often lost in the hype of Easter eggs, bunnies, and empty tomb stories. Reducing Jesus to resurrection guts the gospel, substituting self-interest for the transformative power of God's enduring, unshakeable love. When we turn our faces, following Jesus' example, toward Jerusalem, following God's call to love one another and all creation radically, then we, like Jesus, experience God's presence in a way that draws more deeply into the eternal mystery of abundant life.

Charles Murray ("Advice for a Happy Life by Charles Murray," Wall Street Journal, March 28, 2014) offers five pieces of advice on how to live life to the fullest, adapted from his new book, The Curmudgeon's Guide to Getting Ahead:

  1. Consider marrying young
  2. Learn how to recognize your soul mate
  3. Eventually stop fretting about fame and fortune
  4. Take religion seriously
  5. Watch "Groundhog Day" repeatedly

Murray's first four recommendations are all reflect social science research and offer practical advice for improving the quality and length of one's life. Even #4, take religion seriously, has more to do with the benefits of community than with any doctrinal elements.

But recommendation #5, watch "Groundhog Day" repeatedly, echoes what I advocate in this post: learn to live, truly live, by learning to love. That is Easter's message for those of us who inhabit this fragile yet beautiful island home.

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