For believers, this past Sunday was celebrated as Easter, for unbelievers here, the Tomb-Sweeping Day. Along with it, if not less important, the Jewish Pass-over was also celebrated around the globe the week before, and Jewish festival of ‘First Fruits’ coincided with Easter.
Each Easter, I had trouble savoring the truth that our Savior resurrected. I could listen to sermons that pull out Scriptures that teach about it, but it seemed at the end of it, I was not fully ‘resurrected’, despite the resounding hymns sung by a rather affectionate group. In a word, I wanted to see a resurrected self further away from my old self and emerged to more of the newness of life that is in Him.
It has never occurred to me that this year I wanted to see from my eyes as one of the people of my own culture. In this Southern part of the country where tens of millions of people live, it has not been quite obvious before I noticed the number of ‘4’ (the utterance of which is close to that of ‘death’ in the language) is missing, either in street or community buildings. People want to avoid the notion of it and the fact is especially silent and absent from children. Growing up, I had not been taught much on the subject until I was taught about the fact of Resurrection.
The Tomb-sweeping Day is for people to worship their ancestors, I wonder at this time, how people could ‘avoid’ the matter. I had gone to my ancestors’ tombs one time when I was still a kid and all I remember is that there were some fun things we did, one of them is to eat the food offered to our ancestors (which sounds a bit gross now) at the end of the worship when everyone was dismissed. But nowadays, it seems I had to swim against the tide celebrating Easter rather than thinking too much of the way people observed the Tomb-sweeping day. I feel rather heavy not for my own soul, I was weighed down by the atmosphere of the surroundings.
Although no one wants to know about the time after death, except that they do things to indicate what is like in their life after death – a lot of fake money are burned for the deceased so they could have a good life wherever they are, etc. When my grandma died, they burned a mini paper house for her, hoping she would have a good place to live. And in my grandpa’s case, my aunt took a coin wrapped in a piece of red paper and laid it in his mouth. We know that the Father has many rooms and our Lord went before us to prepare them for us. That might sound like there is no difference from what unbelievers think about their after lives. Moreover, we don’t need fake money to spend on food and clothing, or unimaginable luxuries. We are not going to miss anything when we die. There is absolutely nothing to lose. Would this make a point to unbelievers? Well, one must be born again to receive the inheritance, which is way better.
There is an ancient saying that ‘If you don’t know about life, how you could know about death’. There are two aspects of this philosophical Chinese saying. One aspect is, well, self-evidenced as people would easily perceive it – live this life to the full by trying to get as much as he/she could, by all means. That sounds somewhat like the impact of what the idea of evolution has on people. If we don’t have a Creator and don’t need to give an account for our lives, just live life as one ‘wishes’. In some religion, they do emphasis what they do will affect who they are after death, but that’s another story.
But for believers, we are told that if we focus on this life and things in this world, we would be worse off than unbelievers. When people judge/treat others based on their social status and how much property they have, that might show what their world view and value is. However, as believers, there is the other side of the coin – live life to the fullest by His Grace for His glory, even it means to lose what we can’t keep, in order that we’d keep what we can’t lose.
That being said, I now somehow come to a point of clearness of what Easter means. And now I can begin to savor more and rest on all it has to offer.
Your Sister in Christ,
Ps Min lives in a large Asian country and I have had the pleasure of knowing her for about 20 years now. Min lives her faith in a country that is certainly not renown for having any kind of faith. In all these years I have known Min,she has never wavered from her faith, despite the harshness her country has towards people of faith.