The message of Easter is hope--hope for new life, hope for the world. For a long weekend each spring, many people take a breather and remind themselves of the story of disciples finding Jesus' tomb empty, and a rumor that he has been raised from death. Depending on local and family traditions, Easter might involve surprises, parades, church, a family dinner or two, and maybe even time to reflect on one's level of hope.
Then the world re-asserts itself, usually with a vengeance--disaster, violence and ample evidence of human sin. Easter's challenge is to persist, to offer us something even when the chocolate is gone, the left overs eaten up, and no long weekends till late May. Easter-type rumors do keep popping up, fighting for attention amidst the giant headlines about greed, abuse, terror and inequality.
That crowd camped out in front the Toronto police station for two weeks proclaiming that all citizens have a right to be treated with respect, that Black lives matter, was one such story. And there are others: The strides toward education of girls around the world is another; a treaty to reduce the trade in small arms (such as rifles) makes its slow way toward acceptance by the nations of the world; the work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission about the harm suffered by indigenous children in Indian Residential Schools looks as if it is keeping the attention of governments, educational and other institutions.
Are they enough? To offer you a glimmer of hope? Much depends on your personal circumstances and outlook, of course. It’s not helpful to get overly optimistic, as if “every day, in every way, things are getting better and better,” to quote the French psychologist, Émile Coué, who came up with this mantra for healing a hundred years ago. But if a person has no hope, it’s bleak.
The challenge the Easter message has is all of us. Can we hear Easter as a prayer, not a cure-all, inspiration to work to change the world, not a sedative?