Why do you look for the living among the dead? -Luke 24:5
Dear members and friends of the Swedenborgian Church,
The story of Easter is about living. And though this may sound straightforward, there is much to understand behind the word “living.” When something is alive, meaning moving and reproductive of itself, we often describe it as a living being. However, if we were to endeavor ourselves to define what it truly means to be “alive,” we face a difficult task. Beyond our normal and unscholarly definition of living, we would be required to scrutinize and define the matter of life itself. To make the issue little more challenging, “life” as embodied by the story of Easter is not about being biologically alive, but being spiritually alive!
On the first Easter morning, according to the Gospel of Luke, four women came to the tomb of Jesus to complete the proper burial ritual, which they could not do earlier. However, to their amazement, the stone that had blocked the tomb was rolled away and they were greeted by two men in dazzling clothes! To these terrified and confused women, the men said, “Why do you look for the living among the dead?” This simple statement captured my full attention for the whole month of March this year while preparing my Easter message. What struck me was the truth that we often try to find a path to spiritual cultivation within the habitual circle of our life. We search the familiar areas first, and are terrified by the fact that the answer might actually be outside our comfort zone!
Jesus openly taught and spoke about his coming death and resurrection. Yet, it was somehow incomprehensible to the minds of his disciples and followers; the common notion during that time was that death was the end to all. One way or another, we create a certain reality in our minds and only accept things that fit within this system as “real” or “possible.” Yet, what Jesus taught is that true reality can actually be found when we step out of our self-created reality! The problem of a self-created reality is that though it is created by the self, the essential functioning of it is often detrimental to the self. This is because ideally, the purpose of the self is to learn and grow to be spiritual, but first we must transcend the parameters set by our self-created reality. In other words, the goal of the self is to seek and find a way to connect with what the self-created reality defines as “impossible” or “not-real.” For this, the angels states in Luke, “Why do you seek the living among the dead?”
Blessings, Rev. Junchol Lee