Marvin Repinski: When we are called to be Easter people

Published 6:42 pm Friday, April 15, 2022

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There are several ways of picturing the stories of Holy Week. Some of us may have been taught in our young years, “the stone was rolled away.” It was a graphic way of appealing to our imagination. Jesus, who was rejected then hung on the cross to die, was by God’s providence not to be a dead memory forever. He would be a presence, a reality that would not die. From the stories in the Bible, some of us now agree, we are EASTER PEOPLE.

My insights have been broadened by the writing of John Berger in his book “Ways of Seeing.” His view is that what we usually accept as objective reality changes depending on how it’s presented. He acknowledges that what we know and what we believe, as well as the information we are given, influence the context of our viewing.

One example professor Berger relates is suggesting we look at a landscape.

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“A landscape of wheat fields with birds flying overhead appears charmingly bucolic until you learn it was Vincent Van Gogh’s last painting before he killed himself. People who are told the same image is either a work of art or a record of everyday events, evaluate it using mostly divergent criteria. With different background music, a painting of a group of men talking over dinner takes on very different tones; it can be playful or sinister, affectionate or angry. Is that shrunken, bent-over old person an escapee from the local nursing home, or the author of the Supreme Court’s latest erudite and transforming ruling?”

Apply this approach in viewing what Christian people call the resurrection of Jesus — a telling application. What are facts? What is believable? What is truth?

One must, as I do, consider in our developing belief what precedes or follows the information at hand. Who are the mentors of our thinking? Who are we, in our dispositions and needs when asked to accept a conviction? What part of the picture is but a small part of what is affirmed and why are there differences in the manner that an idea, an event or confession is embraced? The life of Jesus as Messiah and Savior, recorded in the Bible, can best be acknowledged when seen through the varied postures and viewpoints. Seen through the eyes of the writers.

My affirmation is that Easter for children is enjoyable, but more than a taffy pull or Easter egg hunt to gain a prize. The life of God is revealed in Jesus Christ and I, with a foundation of belief, am able to affirm a life beyond a grave. My belief is made possible by various “proofs,” but without the spirit of God’s promises might be hard-pressed to believe. Hope is strong.

An illustration: My interest in art and the life of the artist, continues to unfold. My new knowledge is the skill, heavenly talent, craftsmanship, diligence, and artistic creations in their many revered works. Stop to think, please. What is the process, the genius that enabled Michelangelo to wrestle a huge slab of marble, place it on support beams, and with strong and tender hands, turn it into the figure of David? My reading is that a slab of marble was viewed by others as so flawed that it was rejected. What other masons dismissed this part of the earth, to later, see what became a world-renowned statue? It is a wonder to contemplate.

Do feats like this remind us of other miracles? Think of the composer Handel. The wonder of placing a pencil on paper and producing the “Hallelujah Chorus” and prompted the queen to stand up in praise! Like many other events, we too, stand up or bow.

Is there a world-shattering global possibility of New Life in Easter?

Some years ago, a group of doctors at Johns Hopkins, made a video called “The Unknown Profession.” The simple setup was to walk around the city of Baltimore and ask people a question. “What is a geriatrician?”

They interviewed a variety of residents of different ages, ethnic backgrounds, and levels of education. Responses were, “Don’t know.” The response that was notable: “A person who scoops ice cream at Ben and Jerry’s.”

About Easter Sunday, there too is a movement of discovery. Do we wish to be Easter People?

It is time to sing. The words written by Natalie Sleeth warm the hopes of many seeking people. “Hymn of Promise” has the right words and when sung, lifts the heart.

Hymn of Promise

In the bulb there is a flower, in the seed, an apple tree;

in cocoons, a hidden promise: butterflies will soon be free!

In the cold and snow of winter there’s a spring that waits to be,

unrevealed until its season, something God alone can see.

There’s a song in every silence, seeking word and melody;

there’s a dawn in every darkness, bringing hope to you and me.

From the past will come the future; what it holds, a mystery,

unrevealed until its season, something God alone can see.

In our end is our beginning; in our time, infinity;

in our doubt there is believing; in our life, eternity.

In our death a resurrection; at the last, a victory,

unrevealed until its season, something God alone can see.