Reflections on Easter

We are nine now, not counting the extended family. Restaurant reservations are a little harder, but a growing family is a beautiful thing to experience.

The weekend started with a 1:30 AM wakeup on Friday morning; the winds were howling around the house like I’d never heard them before. I went downstairs and was checking things out when my wife said, “There’s something burning in the front yard!” Sure enough, there was a ball of fire in the sky above our gravel road. A pine tree had been blown across the power line and was trying its hardest to catch fire until the breaker at the transformer popped and put out the fire (and power to us and everyone above us on the mountain). It took until 7 or so for the crews to get us up and running, leaving a pile of limbs in our yard and a 20’ tree still in the ground and leaning dangerously over the road.

By comparison, the rest of the weekend was smooth as silk. Our children invited some of their high school friends on Friday night for pizza and the house was full of our children, their friends, and all their children. A great evening all around.

Saturday we relaxed, cooked for just our family, and played with the grandchildren (from almost 4 years old down to 9 months). Sunday we went to the church my wife attends, had brunch downtown, and sent everyone on their way.

The message by the minister was a good one and gave me plenty to reflect on; we shouldn’t try on this day, he said, to tame the mystery. We should join the Resurrection dance. Taming the mystery is best left to another day. I think it’s best left to another discipline.

It’s the job of science to tame mysteries, to solve problems, and it has many tools (the scientific method, peer review, replication of results, and so on) to accomplish this goal. Our lives are much better because of what science has done and is doing. I don’t believe in science; I rely on it. Science does not function based on belief; it is always open to redefining what the truth is. Einstein famously said, “1,000 men cannot prove me right, but one man can prove me wrong.” The search for scientific truth is ongoing. For me there is no conflict between religion and science; they are dealing with two different kinds of truth.

It is not the job of religion to tame the mystery, but rather to celebrate it, to appreciate the magic and majesty of it. The minister showed us a photo of a sign outside a temple in Jerusalem that said, “No explanations inside the church.” Placed there so tour guides wouldn’t disturb the sanctity of an ongoing service or prayer by loudly pointing out things of interest to the tourists, the minister felt like it had a broader message. I agree with him on this. 

On the day that much of the world celebrates upper case Resurrection, I was in the midst of lower case resurrection all around me — the dogwood blooms, the first leaves pushing through the soil in the garden, the play and laughter of our children’s children, people coming together in reaffirmation.

It is a time to celebrate. To join the dance. No explanations; some things are beyond language.

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