Joy does not come easily for me. There's a reason friends have given me plush Eeyore toys.
But here we are at Eastertide, the 50 days of celebration. If the 40 days of lent has been a look at our mortality and fragility, I've decided that I would approach this Easter season with a discipline of joy, of finding pieces of life that lift us up, that bring us to new life.
This takes imagination. I believe forming our lives, not just our individual lives, but our lives together takes imagination. We have to imagine that we can live together. We have endless examples of this sort of imagining in our lives everyday. A stop sign isn't a law of nature, but someone imagined to give life on our roads some structure and safety.
Saturday afternoon, I saw the new movie, Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice. It's a violent piece of work, set in a world where there are terrible things lurking everywhere and brute force is the best way to respond. It's not a film without hope, but it's such a grim look at our world and heroism, you have to really search for it. It's easy to miss it.
Then Saturday evening, I attended the Easter Vigil at my church, where we heard several stories from the Hebrew Scriptures, stories of escape from captivity, of dry bones living again, of Creation and God calling it all good. There's violence in these stories, too ("horse and rider thrown into the sea") but the overall message in these stories is that God is for us, God will bring breath into dry bones, God created us GOOD. And there is a midrash that has God weeping for the Egyptians even as the Hebrews sing their joy of triumph and escape.
I come from a tradition that that doesn't take these stories as fact, history, or science, but we take them seriously. We take seriously the imagining that God is with us, for us, involved in our salvation, deliverance, redemption.
And so I plan on spending the next 50 days in that realm of imagination, a discipline of imagining the joy of the Easter season, a joy that doesn't ignore the history or current troubles in the world, but, with enough of us imagining it, a joy that can transform the troubles of the world.
Christ is arisen! Alleluia!