Sunday, April 8, 2012

The Symbolic Meaning of the Resurrection

On Easter, the day the Christian religion celebrates the resurrection of god, I find myself pondering the meaning of this archetypal event. For believing Christians it most fundamentally represents the conquest of mortality, but I think it has other meanings as well.  Its concurrence with the springtime rebirth of nature aligns the event with ancient celebrations of fertility, and we have remnants of these celebrations in the ubiquitous eggs and bunny rabbits of Easter Sunday. Even the word Easter has fertility associations; the encyclopedia Britannica quotes the 8th c. Venerable Bede as saying that the day was named for “Eostre, or Eostrae, the Anglo-Saxon goddess of spring and fertility.” 

Yet for me the concept of resurrection has a meaning that is not tied to a particular wish (to defeat death) or time of year (spring). For me its most profound meaning is found in the ups and downs of life. There are times when I feel defeated, burned out, used up, finished. And then, a sort of miracle happens: in some mysterious way my spirit resurrects; I can go on; I have new life. So, I offer to you the idea of your perpetual resurrection, here, in this life.

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