Now that I’m older and “wiser”, I have a lot more questions than answers. Like what do we really mean when we say “Happy Easter”? I mean, it’s not like saying “Merry Christmas” is it? We don’t give presents, although I know people get new clothes and give each other strange unrelated gifts – any excuse for using that plastic. It is a major Christian holiday like Christmas, but do we really have Christian sentiments behind that greeting? Or do we really just mean things like Happy Spring Cleaning? Or Happy Daylight Savings Time? How about Happy Egg Boiling? Bunny Hopping? Bonnet Buying? Parade Chasing? Cadbury Chocolate Devouring? Diabetes Recovering? Flower Fertilizing? Ham Basting? Spring Breaking? Too many other possibilities!
And when will we really ever get past that Easter bunny/egg-laying paradox and all its candy spin-offs? For most people today, it’s a celebration of Spring, flowery dresses and weird women’s hats, and planting seeds, and yeah I get the egg-fertility-rabbit connection. But I still think it’s a very forced and mixed metaphor we continually push upon our kids without ever resolving the psychological ramifications that are very confusing and totally unrelated to the Christian reality of it all – well, maybe there’s some distant convoluted connection. But isn’t that how we get traditions anyway, from so long ago that people forget why we do them today?
Aren’t we really supposed to be celebrating something that may be just too difficult to wish someone? Do we even believe it? Do we really believe that Jesus died and came back to life? The Resurrection!? One man said that that was the biggest question of life - “If a man die, shall he live again?” And that because of Jesus, we will all come back too? I say “Amen” to that! But are we even thinking about that at all when we way “Happy Easter?” Maybe we should be coming up with something more creative and definitely related to the real meaning of this international Christian holiday more than just a sometimes predictable “Happy Easter”. How about something like, “Good Resurrection!” Now that does it for me.
But could we actually say that and be politically correct? “Have a nice resurrection!” Doesn’t that say way too much about death and dying for us to feel comfortable? Even though we are talking about the ultimate solution to dying - the ultimate reason to not be afraid of it? The ultimate miracle of life is the afterlife! Isn’t it a bit presumptuous and maybe too premature to be wishing someone something that will directly relate to their having to die first? And if we wish them a happy resurrection, shouldn’t we first wish them a joyful death, or a painless passing or a quick demise - that maybe they’ll get hit by a car rather than having to suffer with agonizing toenail cancer? And THEN wish them a nice resurrection? No really, I want to finally get this out on the table so we can get past these sometimes inane wishes we make at Easter without knowing what we actually mean and come up with something that works!
Couldn’t we really focus on the changes in our bodies that our resurrection is going to bring? Forget all that plastic surgery and liposuction and tummy tucking and face lifting and Collegin and Botox injections! Yes, forget about it because you are going to get a brand new body anyway, right? A heavenly makeover to the max! So why spend your kid’s college money and your life’s savings on stuff that you’re going to get later anyway? And continually pad the pockets of those surgeons who should be out there transplanting livers and hearts and eyeballs!. It’s ridiculous! Unless of course you don’t believe in it, which doesn’t necessarily mean it’s not going happen, right? Doesn’t Paul or someone like him say something like…if we believe in this life only, then we are all of men most miserable? I know I would be.
So maybe when we wish people a happy resurrection, we should also throw in something like – “…and a tight bottom too!” Or “…and a head full of great hair!” Or “…and an amazing new schnozz! Or “…and a 38 DDD!” Maybe we won’t even recognize each other, we’ll look so young in the hereafter – that is if we have only known each other as older people; because I know in my case that people don’t recognize me from my 40-year-old fotos. “Hey, who’s that stud with your wife?” Yeah, I get that a lot. And I also hear that a good resurrection will take us back to our 25-year-old body, unless of course we have already corrupted it at that age with booze and tobacco and Skittles and Big Macs. I heard that people who lose their children while they are young will get to raise them still, because they will resurrect as children. I just hope there are lots of little kids around.
So I think we need to get past the colored eggs, the yellow peeps and the burnt honey-baked ham and get to the other meaty stuff – like what kind of resurrection are we going to have anyway? Yes, it’s not all just one big happy reunion of body and spirit, even though it is a free gift from Jesus – and He did pay an awful price so we could have it. Easter should certainly be about His Atonement and our repentance most of all, shouldn’t it? And because if Him also, we get to choose our resurrection! Say what? Paul says in I Corinthians 15 that we won’t all resurrect alike. He says we will have different resurrections, comparing it to the difference between the sun, the moon, and the stars, as we perceive their differences from earth, I assume. He calls one Terrestrial, like the moon, and one Telestial, like the brightness of the stars.
I know from some modern sources that the sun is called Celestial, and that they all represent a degree of glory that God will provide to all of his children, depending on how they’ve lived on earth. Yes folks, there is still some earning to do. But the highest degree is a Celestial resurrection and those who inherit it will come forth in the morning of the first resurrection and live with Him. So will there also be an afternoon and evening resurrection? I’m a late morning kind of guy myself and not too anxious to just burst out of my coffin for an early breakfast. But I’ll do early if that’s what it takes.
And will it be all that easy getting out of those boxes anyway? No one wants to be conscious and still in the coffin. We don’t want any fingernail scratches messing up the inside of the lid, right? We’ll get some help digging through that dirt, right? I have a problem just getting off the bed each morning. And I keep seeing images of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” and hoping that at least I’ll have time to clean up before I go see anyone. I don’t think I’ll be doing any dancing right away. Of course, the first person I’ll look for is my wife, to see if she’s still that good looking babe I married, just to see if this resurrection stuff really works. Hey, what am I saying? She still looks good to me right now! I know she’ll be hoping that I am back to that coiffed hair and that flat six-pack stomach and marathon-runner physique I never had before.
And what will we do while we’re waiting to resurrect? There has to be a waiting place, a place to keep busy too. I hear it’s spirit prison for those who didn’t know Jesus and who are still receiving His word through His servants, who just might be some of us when we get over there. You remember when Jesus told Mary Magdalene not to touch Him because He hadn’t ascended to His Father yet? That’s because she was only seeing His spirit body – not his resurrected body yet. In Ephesians, it says that Jesus went and preached to the spirits in prison while in the spirit, to people who had died but hadn’t known or believed in Him yet. He gave them a chance to accept His Gospel there too. Remember on the cross he told one of the thieves that he would be with Him in Paradise?
Well, I think Paradise is the waiting place for those who believe in Jesus and who don’t have to wait to be taught about Him. Since baptism is an earthly and necessary ordinance as Jesus said, “Except ye be born of the water and the spirit, ye cannot enter the Kingdom of Heaven…” – people who accept the gospel in this spirit world after they die can still have baptism done for them by proxy as mentioned in I Corinthians 15 again, when people were asking Paul about the resurrection. They mentioned in passing, “Why are they then baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all?” as Paul was trying to convince them of the reality of the Resurrection. Baptism for the dead is being practiced today all over the world in special Temples – and no, it doesn’t mean exhuming dead bodies and baptizing them. Remember that word, proxy, ok? Go look it up! It’s doing for others today what they might not have been able to do for themselves in a time when these baptism and the Holy Ghost weren’t available or not done by legitimate authority.
Yes, so come on resurrection! Can’t come too soon for me – unless I have to die first, of course, in which case I can hold off for a little while, no big hurry. Actually, I’m hoping for that “change in the twinkling of an eye” kind of rapture they talk about, no pain, just levitation without hesitation. I want to put in my order for that right now. Yes, that’s Curran with a C not a K, then U – two R’s, A not E, and a big N-ding. Yeah, it will be nice to see my folks again and visit with other relatives I never knew except by their pictures. Can’t remember my two grandfathers, I was so young when they died. And one grandmother was killed in a car accident while I was a nursing baby. I only knew my father’s mother, who helped us get into a home and who lived with us till she passed away. And so many of their parents and grandparents I’ve come to know through doing family history – nobody likes that G-word much…Genealogy. But it’s still fun.
I’m sure they’ve been very busy on the other side though, with time to cheer my family on and hang around to help us, their progeny, get through this life so we can all get on the next stage in our progress – together! . Angels? Could it be that this mystery is so simple? They’ve been our ancestors all along?. I’ve been trying to do their saving ordinances too, so when I do see them, I don’t have to go skulk about guilty and hide in some cloud – they did so much for me in just coming down here first and laying a great foundation of freedom and peace through their blood, sweat and tears.
And I’d really like to meet Abe Lincoln. He was a childhood favorite of mine. Oh I guess there are a lot of other people I’d like to meet – James Stephens, a tiny Irish poet who I tried to do justice to in my masters thesis. William Wordswortth – what a sublime Romantic poet I love to read. And Ralph Waldo Emerson? Oh yes, his writings were so profound. C.S Lewis of course – but he’ll have such a crowd around him I bet. Just took my grandkids to see his “Narnia”. Maybe I’ll see some of the people I served in Brazil as a missionary, like …Irmao Morais. Now there’s a guy with a story. His dad was a river boat captain on the Amazon, who jumped in the river to save a passenger who had fallen, and they both got eaten by piranha fish! Yikes. I’m sure he is thankful for the resurrecton! . And his son lived to tell me the tale, just barely, because he showed me an arrow wound in his shoulder from those crazy Yanomamo’s using him for target practice. I hope to hear some more tales. How about that Eternal Life! Now that’s what Easter’s all about to me anyway. But I don’t mind a nice colored hard-boiled egg with some salt.