This is the day when we are supposed to reflect on the meaning of Easter – that is (in the usual self-centered language of a religion based on personal salvation (from what?)), ‘what does Easter mean to me?’ (I still have to go to work this afternoon, I didn’t get the day off. Where is the grace in that?)
So, the story is, some guy gets pinned to a couple of two-by-fours, dies, gets buried. Three days later a couple weepy women find the tomb empty. Then, lo and behold, it’s god, and all sins are forgiven – and from then on, the world … well, just keeps going the way it has always gone. After a pep talk to his followers, the dead guy floats off into space. The world just keeps going. Then 40 or 50 years later, some other guy has an epileptic fit and comes out of it convinced that he is the long lost apostle of the dead guy, and sets out to save the world – from what? who know? Weren’t all sins already forgiven? Anyway, the world keeps going, except now there’s a new club on the block, and everybody wants to join it, because, after all, hot-cross buns, chocolate eggs, and warm fuzzy bunnies you have to take to the animal shelter the day after the kids get bored with them. Now, this is a reason to feel saved? From what?!
There are other ways to look at the dead-guy’s after-life narrative:
Count Jesus rises from the dead to suck the will from his followers.
During the zombie apocalypse, the J-zombie rises from the dead and eats the brains of his believers.
Patched together from the parts of dead souls, the Jesustein monster terrorizes small towns in the Mid-East.
Buried for 3 days, the Jesus seed pushes a sapling through the soil; eventually it will bear fruit – which will taste a little bitter to those who prefer candied apples.
Jesus flour rises from the pan to make stale hot-cross buns.
Jesus doesn’t die on the cross, his followers bury him alive to fulfill a prophecy. Later, they find they have misread the ancient text (‘what, that’s a comma? we thought it was a semi-colon!’), but when they dig up Jesus, they find he suffocated to death. ‘I know,’ says one, ‘let’s blame the Jews!’
Pontious Pilate asks Jesus, ‘What is truth?’ Jesus replies, ‘P if and only if Q, then P and Q.’ Pilate denies him tenure at the Julius Caesar Academy, and he crucifies himself in despair. Three days later, his paper appears in the Journal of Abstract Mumblings, and later that year wins a Nobel Prize. Eventually, Paul of Tarsus becomes his most renown commentator, publishing eighty volumes of arcane interpretation nobody can read. Intellectuals assume this is evidence of some deeper meaning they can’t articulate, and Paulism sweeps across college campuses everywhere – for about a decade, after which it is replaced by the Computation Theory of Biblical Analysis as the next big fad. Paulists texts can be found in used-book stores at very low prices, but nobody remembers why the were ever thought important, and eventually they get recycled into newsprint for comic books.
Jesus finally gets it up. Mary Magdalene cries ‘Halleluiah! He has risen!’
The celebration of life is worthy; personal reflection on one’s faults and need for improvement is worthy. We don’t need any special days for these. And we don’t need any ancient myths to validate our own worth.