Easter

Marcy 27, 2016 (Kampala):

Today is Easter. The girls are excited about church and wearing their new dresses. I am reflecting on how I feel. I remember one Easter (1999), when I was attending a new church. In the pastor’s presentation of Jesus, I was deeply moved. No doubt experiences like that, with all the religious fervor they kindled, are part of what propelled me out into this world, into Uganda.

If someone were to ask me now if I believe in the physical resurrection of Jesus from the dead, I would still say ‘yes’, but internally I would have to qualify the meaning of ‘believe’. Do I believe it so certainly that I would try to convince others of it? No. That I would die for it? No. More accurately, I could call it a ‘base belief’ or an ‘anchor belief’. In cycles of rational doubting I come back to base and tag it. In the rolling waves of doubt, I am tethered to the belief.

It’s not that I’m rationally convinced that Jesus rose physically from the grave. Rather, it’s that I hold that belief because a) I was taught it was true by people I trusted, b) I haven’t been faced with compelling enough reasons to reject it, and c) I haven’t found a wholly satisfactory alternative belief that would explain the historical realities of the growth of Christianity.

So how does one celebrate Easter in light of that? I’m not sure. Most likely by going on as if one believes the story with all certainty.

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