The Resurrection: Death, Grief, and Return
The past is with us always. It’s an uncomfortable fact; isn’t each generation supposed to live out its span and leave the world to it successors? Well, yes and no.
The dead are no longer with us. They can no longer tell the stories we love most or which are most important to us. They also no longer occupy the physical and psychological space they once did; their exit from worldly events opens up opportunities and liberates resources that are needed as our lives continue.
On the other hand, the mark of the dead is on everything, even the most recent inventions, which depend on theories first formulated and experiments first carried out in the distant past. The grief we feel at the departure of the people important to us is intense and can last years or longer. And all of this is doubly true if we are fortunate enough to have followed a great healer in our life.
Questions about the historical truth of the resurrection are understandable, particularly considering the circumstances reported though the Gospels and other sources: wouldn’t Jesus’s community, suddenly bereft of its leader (who died a terrible death) experience visions of his renewed presence, at least as a part of the grieving process? Wouldn’t this be all the more likely if his community believed him capable of raising the dead?
Denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance: these stages of grieving presuppose that death and loss are without any constructive or creative value. Something has been lost, and the only question is whether or not one has the strength to admit it. But Jesus’s personal and spiritual evolution was hardly complete at 30; much remained unresolved–had he come to terms with his childhood (whatever the details of that were) and what did he hope for the future? From RT’s perspective, Jesus’s thinking had and continued to evolve and so his messages to the disciples would had changed, remaining inconclusive at his death. His conversations with his closest followers remained unfinished.
The resurrection helps complete that conversation. It gives his followers an idea of what comes next, but, more importantly, it reveals aspects of his mind and heart that otherwise might have remained hidden. He had gone away, as he told the disciples he would, but he has also remained among them. He has revealed himself more deeply, and so have they. RT