Exodus to New Life
Why do you seek the living among the dead? (Luke 24,5)
By Annette Schavan
[This meditation is translated from the German in: zeitzeichen 4/2001.]
What does Jesusf resurrection mean for me and my faith today? First of all, Jesusf resurrection is the source of trust and exodus to new life. Nothing simply disappears that injures and limits life everyday. Death cannot be leaped over. However Jesusf resurrection is bound with the promise that the strength for new experience of life and abundant life is possible in life. Jesusf resurrection enables me to trustingly hope in life perspectives beyond death.
The sentence gEverything will fail at the endh comes from Thomas Bernhard. The message of Easter means something different; a person can attain true life through all failure. The last word does not belong to failure. The women at the empty grave experienced this first on Easter morning. gWhy do you seek the living among the dead?h
The God of life became a person. God did not remain outside of time but lived in unique solidarity with people in historical time. He lived through the ups and downs of human existence to pave the way to everlasting life at the end. Our testimony as Christians should be the testimony of his nearness to people, true human freedom and eternal life.
The fears and distresses of people in Germany and worldwide, the inner conflict of Christendom, the search for orientation in dealing with new challenges and the discoveries of science, the worldwide call for more justice and solidarity, the longing for peace and democracy awaken us again and again demanding our engagement with reason, a sense of distance and passion. We should be where the distress is greatest. Christian existence is not a pillow or only exhausted in what is religiously regulated and institutionally defended.
Whoever speaks of diversity does not disturb unity. Christians do not encounter their time with finished answers to all questions, solutions for all problems or simple prescriptions for happiness and salvation. Our speaking and acting are just as little exhausted in what everyone says and does anyway. As Godfs people, Christians are on the way in their time and called to give testimony to the incredible message in which God promises liberation and redemption to all people through his incarnate Son. The Christian message in word and deed sees the person as Godfs likeness.
Human dignity is unrealizable and inviolable. Human existence is not promised by people but presented by God. A person is more than the sum of his/her genes or neurons. A person has a soul, intellect and feelings. Every person is unique for him/herself and therefore cannot be cloned. This may not be forgotten in view of the new possibilities of genetic engineering and embryo research. The person optimizing him/herself cannot ultimately redeem him/herself. The attempt at playing God has always failed. The distinction between heaven and earth, Creator and creature, God and person is part of the Christian-Jewish tradition. In my study of theology, I encountered the moral theologian Franz Bockle. He described the Christian self-image as follows: gWhat is specifically Christian in a Christian existence lies in the significance of Good Friday and Easter for the self-image of believing Christians. The Christian sees the ground of his/her hope in Good Friday and Easter. The faith in the breakthrough of the barriers of death makes him/her free for a life against pure self-assertion whose truth is death.h
This has become a keyword for me: Good Friday and Easter as a ground of our hope, life perspectives against pure self-assertion and a starting point for a new relation between heaven and earth. A Christian does not believe in God because he/she is disappointed by the world. Rather believing in God, he/she turns full of hope to the world. We are on our way like the two disciples on their wandering to Emmaus. gDid not our hearts burn within us when he spoke with us on the way?h
In the middle of life, we are surrounded by Godfs goodness. We should strive to recognize Godfs goodness. The Resurrected opens eyes and hearts. In the light of the Easter event, relations change and the horizon widens. Sad and unsuccessful disciples become courageous and joyful disciples. The flight from disappointed dreams in Jerusalem turns into a courageous return to Godfs reality. The Lord is risen, he is risen indeed.