Every Easter I read a meditation written by Thomas Merton entitled He is Risen. Here is an excerpt from the book that always seems to move me
Christ is the Lord of a history that moves. He not only holds the beginning and the end in his hands. But he is in history with us walking ahead of us to where we are going. He is not always in the same place.
The cult of the Holy Sepulchre is Christian only in so far as it is the cult of the place where Christ is no longer found. But such a cult can be valid only on one condition: that we are willing to move on, to follow him to where we are not yet, to seek him where he goes before us “to Galilee.”
So we are called not only to believe that Christ rose from the dead, thereby proving he was God; we are called to experience the Resurrection in our own lives by entering into this dynamic movement, by following Christ who lives in us.
Author Robert Quinn speaks to a similar truth when he says that unless we are willing to continue to grow, learn and change in our lives, we enter into a process of “slow death” to our spirits and vitality in life. The alternative to this slow death is to take risks in life that Quinn characterizes as “walking naked in the land of uncertainty.”
There is no question that our lives both individually as well as a society and as a global community, are filled with uncertainty. For those of us who believe in God, God seems strangely silent and inactive in these days when violence, greed and systemic oppression seems to rule the day. Merton’s meditation reminds us that we are called to a life of dynamic movement, even change, that feels uncertain, risky, like “walking naked in a land of uncertainty.” Jesus calls us to follow Him to our “Galilee,” wherever and whatever that may be.
Too often we seek to hold our faith in a fixed position, to capture it in an experience, a belief system or a liturgical practice. Merton reminds us that the Christ who rose on Easter is not fixed but rather dynamic, transformative and always ahead of us. So let us seek to follow the Christ “who is not there” to the unknown and risky places to which he bids us follow Him.