Easter Message: Who Moved the Stone?
This morning a newsletter for the local church was posted through my door, with an all but sensational title: ‘So who did move the stone?’ I guess being Easter, it is a time when all good Christians will be focusing on the miraculous events of Christ and the significance that they feel lies behind them. However, reducing the potential evidence for Christ’s rising from the dead (as the leaflet does), to the question of ‘who moved the stone’ seems all but divinely inspired and rather paltry.
In the newsletter ‘sceptics’ are accused of not being able to answer the question, which really doesn’t come as much of a surprise considering the event was supposed to have happened over two thousand years ago. Then the idea that ‘roman soldiers’, ‘roman authorities’, ‘Jewish leaders’ and ‘Jesus’ own followers’ moved the stone are ruled out on the basis of childlike assumptions.
The hypothesis drawn from the assumptions (which is by no means a substantial form of evidence), and which is presented as being the ‘only answer’ is that ‘Jesus rose from the dead’. Thus by his ‘conquering death’ he gives Christians ‘hope’. In the rest of the leaflet there wasn’t a word about Christ’s teaching.
Surely a life’s tangible experience of spirituality and inner joy would be far more evidential of Christ activities and teachings, than flimsy assumptions about who may or may not have move a stone thousands of years ago. The ‘stone’ question may never be empirically proved or disproved, and does that really matter? Is it something that any person would want to hinge their faith upon?
Drawing our attention to magic, as in stone moving or ceremonious powers, is something that priest, and Brahmins or more generally: those who mediate on behalf of what may exist beyond our perception; often do to convince us of the meaning they are trying to make. Supernatural events, or powers or often threats; have a tremendous effect on the vulnerable, superstitious or hopeless mind. We become manipulated by fear or hopeful of gain by the idea of magical events. We may presume that a person must be speaking with authority if they can do magic, or refer to someone who did, long before recorded history (beyond disproof). But good and bad persons in history have all been reported for using magic. So why should magic be taken so seriously?
Surely it is the teachings, when implemented in our lives; and the gracious and divine experience they have in effect, that stands as the proof of meaning in the words of any prophet. It cannot be all profit for the prophet; the practitioner must share in the fruits of a divine life. In all eventuality, and as ancient wisdom suggests: ‘param drstva nivartante’ sustainable spirituality cannot be based on ‘hope’ and promises alone, rather the personal experience of a higher reality must arise. So if the stone of material life does roll aside, by ones efforts and/or the help of others, and spirituality rises from within; then who should doubt the significance of Easter Sunday.