Where’s The Resurrection In All This?
by Josie Hyatt, WELCM peer minister
Lately, I've been hearing a lot of talk about how an extreme Lent seems to have been forced upon us this year. We’ve been fasting from almost everything, and not just the things that are distracting us from God. Not only is this year's Lenten season extreme, and involuntary, even worse, it won’t end on Easter Sunday. We will still be stuck at home (or risking our health to keep working), isolated from our loved ones, and unsure of the future. People will continue getting sick and dying, financial struggles won’t cease. Where is the resurrection in all this? Sure, Spring is blooming, new births occurring, but at least for some of us (read: me), that doesn’t feel like enough.
I first saw the musical Godspell at the tender age of fifteen, starring many of my good friends from our high school theater department. It was a formative experience. The musical is a beautiful mix of goofy and sincere, taking the vast majority of its material from the Gospel of Matthew. It’s a loose adaptation, set against the backdrop of an urban junkyard, and it does leave out a lot of biblical material. One of its most criticized omissions is a clear depiction of the resurrection. Jesus is crucified on the junkyard fence, and the musical ends without him rising again. Some people have argued that the actor’s bow at the curtain call signifies the resurrection. If we take that stance, however, it would imply that every play, including Romeo and Juliet has a whole bunch of resurrections, and I don’t know anyone arguing for that position.
Even as a high school sophomore, it was immediately obvious to me, however, that there was a resurrection in Godspell, just not a traditional one. After Jesus dies, the other cast members begin to sing, and their singing is full of resurrection. The lyrics include “Long live God,” “We can build a beautiful city,” and “Prepare ye the way of the Lord.” It starts out quiet and subdued, but crescendos into the most joyful moment of the entire show. Jesus’ resurrection is shown in these remaining characters, his followers--which in turn invites us to take ownership over our role in the resurrection.
We are Christ’s body, and we live the resurrection by letting Jesus guide us and inhabit our actions.
If we look around, there are countless people out there right now risking their lives to save others, and even more doing smaller acts of kindness, love, and service. This Easter, although I can’t go to church, and life might not feel particularly joyful or celebratory, I will be making a point to look for the resurrection in the actions of people in my community and all around the world. I will make a point to find ways I can build connection, demonstrate God's love, and make a small difference in at least one person’s life. If you are having trouble finding the resurrection amidst the grief, isolation, fear, and suffering this pandemic is causing, it certainly cannot hurt to do the same.