Happy Easter! And thank you, Jesus, for the Good News because good news is something we seem to be short on these days. Here we are at Easter once again where I typically roll through this holiday like everything else in my life - busily stepping over the depth and shallowly moving along to the next thing on the list. However, upon a little reflection, Easter highlights an event where Jesus gave his life so others could have more life. I say ‘more life’ because I believe we can experience time that stretches eternally while still living in the present.
Rather than see time as a straight line, if we imagine it as a big slinky-like coil spiraling through existence, with each circle around the sun one spiral, then all the two thousand odd Easters stacked on top of one another will draw a line running from Jesus’s resurrection at one end to a tip pointing to the beyond. Easter can serve as an axis mundi, the symbolic pole that is rooted in the ground but also reaching into the heavens. I can go about daily living but also feel anchored to a timelessness where eternity is present. My feet are on the ground and yet my head is in heaven, or at least it could be. How does one remain transfigured to both the clock and the great peace of eternal time? Well, I don’t pretend to know the answer, but ruminating about Easter inspires me with thoughts about this.
While jogging yesterday filled with my usual tension from anxiety and stress, I reminded myself to breathe deeper, drop my shoulders, to get in the zone and relax that tightness of my center. I felt a loosening and a shift in my thoughts, and then I imagined that the jogging trail was what was moving, and I was just running in place. Time was a river flowing over me while I reacted to events that fill my days. My joy and sorrow, as well as my fear and my courage all playing out right here in this one spot. My existence was like the flat screen of a video game but with different people and events coming into it and hanging out for a bit before moving beyond my point of view. I could control my actions, and more so my reactions, which would create what’s coming down my river of time.
Maybe it’s not so profound that my reaction to my perceived reality, is what shapes my world both inside and out. Fear of what may come down this river of time creates anxiety but faith that I can reach out and metaphorically grab the hand of Jesus gives me a sense of peace and calm. Fear of harm and death, my own and those I love, is perhaps my major source of stress. And yet, If I can just remember the Good News, that we have eternal life in heaven, and that I can experience some of that right here on earth, then some of that worry falls off my shoulders. The Peace that Passes all Understanding is a memory from my church-going childhood. And now that phrase makes more sense because that Peace is beyond our ordinary time, it is plugged into Heaven and is more of a knowing or a feeling than some rational understanding. It is more of a faith than a demonstrable fact. It is a walking stick that both holds me upright to walk the earth and envelopes me with undying connection to God.
Perhaps this Easter people at the church banquet may wonder first, where have I been all these Sunday mornings, and secondly, why I’m so calm among the chaos of activity with my eyes looking like deep pools of peace while I eat so many deviled eggs. And if asked I probably won’t say, “because Jesus is my axis mundi” but I just might answer that I am feeling good because of the news, the Good News. That joyful (Joy Full) feeling can be tapped into right now, right here, no matter where any of us are physically or mentally. This Easter I am going to turn off the world’s news and crank up the gospel music. Happy Easter everybody!
- Ted Dennard, Founder, CEO and Head Beekeeper