Christ is risen. He is risen indeed. Alleluia!
So will Christians cry out on this Easter morning as we gather to celebrate the resurrection and the new life God has created for us. But while we celebrate the resurrection on this day, I am also mindful that resurrection is not a one day event. It is an every day event. We are resurrection people, as we attest in our Baptism that we die to sin and rise to new life each and every day. Each and every moment.
And while there is power in the proclamation of resurrection on Easter Sunday, with choirs and trumpets, lilies and processions, resurrection happens in the quiet, in-between moments of every day. It goes unnoticed unless we pay attention. (And what better way to pay attention than in zazen!)
Unfortunately, resurrection is too often confused for something that happens after we die. The promise of new life comes after our lifespan on earth has expired. But to understand resurrection only that way misses the power and wonder of new life that God is bringing into each and every moment. Don’t get me wrong, I certainly have my own emotional, powerful experience of resurrection on Easter Sunday, gathering with Mary who weeps at the tomb to be overwhelmed by the promise that the one who we love lives, and God’s love for us can overcome anything that causes us to fear or despair. We need the promise of resurrection.
But we need to see ongoing resurrection as well – the gift of new life that lies in each new breath. We can see it when we look, when we sit in zazen. In our meditation, we can see plainly that we literally cease to exist in each new moment. And not just us, but everything – as each moment passes, it is gone, and a new creation is born. In each passing moment. In each passing breath. We are not the same person we were yesterday, last year, or even an hour ago. Not even biologically, as we are physically always being made new!
Zazen is much about dying. It is about letting go of ourselves. To realize that those things too pass, to be made new in each moment. A new creation with each breath.
The sting of death is real. The pain of letting go is real. Letting go of our expectations, our desires, our selves. But if we do, we see that a new creation rises in each moment. And we are indeed free of the chains of sin and death of the past, as Christ calls us forward into a new creation. This is the promise of resurrection. The good news is that we are not bound by the past, no matter how much it hurts or how much we cling to it and try to recapture it. Christ is bringing God’s new creation. Now.
Christ is risen. He is risen indeed. Alleluia.