Yesterday we meditated on the teachings of Otto Rank who, though a Jew and not a Christian, proposed that Eater and its message of Resurrection for all was the “most revolutionary idea proposed” in the history of the human race. Revolutionary because, in his reading of the history of our species, the fear of death and our consequent d “immortality projects” have dictated much of human history from the get go.
Now, since Easter, all are promised Resurrection, one does not have to be a Pharaoh or king or famous to live beyond this life. One does not have to be rich or powerful or successfully buried to live beyond this life. Now all are participating in resurrection. And it helps to have learned something about love and justice, that is compassion, in this lifetime.
What does Easter or Resurrection Sunday signify? That none of us need fear death. If the fear of death, so primal to human history, and its many immortality projects including empire and fame, money and power is now gone, then now our species can evolve more fully. Can live more fully.
How do we do that? For Rank, to live fully is to create. With the fear of death sidelined we are free and able to create ourselves and also able to create our species anew—a species that can choose not to go extinct but return to living at peace with self, others and the rest of creation. To evolve beyond modernism and capitalism and ego-ism and to devise more appropriate economic, political, religious, educational models, to advance who we are as a species.
First, to birth oneself, one’s truest and deepest self. (What the mystics would all our “inner self” as distinct from our “external” or “outer self” that seeks to please others and often wanders from the truth of who we are.) But Resurrection also means to create a society that makes it easier for everyone to be their true self. A society of justice and compassion where everyone’s true self can come to fruition.
Where “resurrection” is not an individualistic concept dictated by an ego that is afraid to die but a community project. We all resurrect or none of us does. We all enter Joy or none of us does. We don’t journey alone but together. We care for one another, A world of Compassion.
Compassion is about living out our authentic place of interdependence and interconnectivity with one another and with all beings—the waters and the soil, the air and the trees, the fishes and the four-legged ones, the birds and the reptiles, are here together for a reason. We need one another; and we can take delight in one another. All that is compassion: Our shared joy and our shared suffering. All that is resurrection.
See Matthew Fox, A Spirituality Named Compassion, pp. 104-111.
Queries for Contemplation
Do you agree with Rank that to live fully is to create? What follows from that?
Bruce Chilton investigates the Easter event of Jesus in Resurrection Logic. He undertakes his close reading of the New Testament texts without privileging the exact nature of the resurrection, but rather begins by situating his study of the resurrection in the context of Sumerian, Egyptian, Greek, and Syrian conceptions of the afterlife. He then identifies Jewish monotheistic affirmations of bodily resurrection in the Second Temple period as the most immediate context for early Christian claims. Chilton surveys first-generation accounts of Jesus’ resurrection and finds a pluriform–and even at times seemingly contradictory–range of testimony from Jesus’ first followers. This diversity, as Chilton demonstrates, prompted early Christianity to interpret the resurrection traditions by means of prophecy and coordinated narrative.
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