"Every crucifixion has a resurrection." This was a friend's message to me as I faced the unexpected loss of a family member. Frankly, I hadn't labeled the ordeal as a "crucifixion," having reserved this term only for Jesus. But I knew this friend would never belittle Jesus' life, and instead deeply cherished it and applied his teachings to help others.
Later I pondered these words and discovered that one definition of "crucify" is "to treat cruelly," and a definition of "resurrect" is "revival, resurgence." Another description of resurrection is found in the writings of Mary Baker Eddy, who founded Christian Science. She referred to it as "spiritualization of thought" ("Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," p. 593).
Our normal family life had indeed been treated cruelly - crucified, you might say - as the lives of those suffering tragedies such as hurricane Katrina have been treated cruelly. Is revival, resurgence - resurrection - possible, I wondered?
Looking back over my life, I found countless problems reversed and peace restored. I also found signs of progress within situations still requiring resolution. It was like seeing God's invisible fingers, gently untangling the knots of harm that had pulled things down, allowing individuals and circumstances to instead spring up with fresh life and purpose.
I've seen heavy adversity being offset by the more weighty power of goodness. Nails of various "crucifixions" were quietly being pulled out by the unyielding persistence and might of divine "resurrections." Evidence of these things gave me hope.
Also, I've found a lesson in the life of Jesus. He knew that humanity would suffer troubles. "In the world ye shall have tribulation," he said, and then continued, "but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world" (John 16:33).
Although he said this before his own resurrection, his conviction of God's power to overcome and reverse all crucifixions had already won against the past, present, and future obstacles thrown in his path, which attempted to stop his mission. And what was his mission? To show us that we, too, are God's loved children, endowed with divine life that survives human death.
The song "The Lord of the Dance," set to the Shaker tune, "Simple Gifts," refers to Christ's life victorious over the cross on Good Friday and beyond:
I danced on a Friday when the sky turned black:
It's hard to dance with the devil on your back.
They buried my body and they thought I'd gone,
But I am the dance and I still go on...
I am the life that'll never, never die.
I'll live in you...
©1963 Stainer & Bell, Ltd.*
As hard as it is to suffer intense loss such as has resulted from hurricane Katrina, war, and other tragedies, the promise of revival is real and intact. Despite severe sorrow, I'm grateful for an unmistakable sense that my relative continued on past death. And, in time, we have welcomed someone needing a family into our midst, who has given us such joy that the whole family has felt renewed.
The Easter story is a story for all. "The promises will be fulfilled" ("Science and Health," p. 55). That includes the promise of no "crucifixions" without "resurrections" - now - and for all.
*Admin. by Hope Publishing Co., Carol Stream, Ill. All rights reserved. Used by permission.