I could not sleep last night and read Doris Lessing’s autobiography instead. She spent her formative years in Zimbabwe while it was still a colony and her alert mind was always seeking to understand.
She puzzled out her thoughts by writing and the title of this piece come from advice to a friend of hers who droned on in conversation about politics in Britain where Doris was then living. Borrowing from Shakespeare (‘get thee to a nunnery’), she is advising him to ‘get yourself in front of a typewriter (laptop) and ask yourself what you think.’ The implication is you do not know what you really think or believe until you put it down on paper for the world to read.
The message of Easter is of ‘opening eyes’ and ‘raising minds.’ The people of Athens ‘burst out laughing’ when Paul mentioned the Resurrection (Acts 17:32) and people of every generation have followed their lead. The resurrection is just something we have learnt along the way but it makes no sense and has little impact on our lives. Even Jesus’ own closest followers couldn’t take it. Thomas said, ‘Unless I can see … I will not believe’ (John 20:25). A sensible chap. ‘Seeing is believing’ we say. Show me the evidence.
Easter comes and goes and we can miss its message. Doris wanted her friend to write so that he would clarify his own thoughts. She herself felt ‘a sort of complicated gigantic flow of movement of which I am a part, and it gives me profound satisfaction to be in it.’ She felt she was moving towards a fuller and truer understanding of her own life and the world around her and she wanted her friend to discover this too. Easter is like that. Jesus wants us to do the same: to have true understanding of the reality which God is revealing. The resurrection was the gigantic step forward in the unfolding of this revelation but each one of us is called to be ‘in it.’ So the resurrection is happening at every moment if we can ‘open our eyes’ and ‘raise our minds’.
Yet we know, there is no resurrection without the passion. That is our life. The Passion is everywhere: Burma, Yemen, the Uyghers in China, Capo Delgado in Mozambique and all the little tragedies that we know. We move deeper and look into our own lives. We find the passion there. We struggle, search for answers, take wrong turnings and, we hope, eventually find solutions.
Thomas was lucky. It was made crystal clear to him. ‘You believe because you have seen.’ But it is not always so clear and Thomas wasn’t blessed for seeing something that was obvious. ‘Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.’ Easter calls us to stretch our little narrow comfortable hearts and be open to the ‘gigantic flow of movement’ of which we are part and believe that I can rise in my own life and help others rise in theirs.
11 April 2021 Easter Sunday 2 B Acts 4:32-35 1 John 5:1-6 John 20:19-31