Human beings will eventually leave behind the Earth as they explore the solar system and beyond. The migration is inevitable, as it was for those souls who left the cradle of Africa millennia ago, making their way to Europe, Asia, Australia, and the Americas. In the past century, we have made the trek of life more challenging, heading to the wildernesses of the poles, the mountaintops, the depths of the sea, into space, and even the moon.
As is true with today’s troubled and tortured culture, we will then (as now) need to cling to important traditions: the new life that comes not only with the rising sun, but with the opportunities of grace God gives us.
The Phoenix lander captured this sunrise in the far north of Mars last year. Yes, it looks bleak. No lilies or trees or even flowing water to be found. As we keep our grace and joy in mind this Easter, we should also spare a thought and a prayer for those whose Easter morning looks like this bleak plain in the Martian Arctic. Or worse. The troubles of life place warmth and light farther away than the Son is for us Christians. And Christians are not immune from bitterness, dryness, and cold, be it from personal sin or the abuse and torment offered them by other sinners.
At Easter we attend to the great sign of Christ rising from the dead and encouraging us to have faith, to go forth, and to continue his mission. We eat and drink and make festive celebration, as we should, when grace and opportunity present. But we should keep in mind that God chose our wandering and longing spirit to help explain our calling: to be pilgrims in whatever home we find ourselves, to belong and commit, but realize we stand with a higher power and our ultimate aim is elsewhere.
Jesus appeared to his disciples, but not for very long. We too should realize that our faith invites and compels us to follow his example: to love deeply to the point of laying down one’s life, but to move ever forward as we make our pilgrim way to the destiny of glory.
Happy Easter to all!