The tide ofEaster: "To meet life a little boldly"

March 27, 2002

This issue contains an important article on a region unfamiliar to many of us—the turbulent Muslim countries of central Asia that border Afghanistan—and two thoughtful essays on topics theological types often avoid—market economics and the practices of American corporations. All of the articles serve as reminders of the complex challenges and dangers before us.

The immediate future, for Christians at least, is characterized by the traditional liturgical designation “Eastertide.” My Presbyterian calendar dropped the “tide” and simply calls the season Easter.

I miss “Eastertide.” Somehow the term seems more festive, and it also makes Easter seem less like a day on the calendar and more like the start of a movement by which we are swept into the future.

As I do my own worrying about recent examples of corporate irresponsibility, and the way the culture in which we live seems to have been subsumed by the market, I like the reminder that it is Eastertide and that there will be another dynamic operative in the future, namely hope.

Some of the earliest versions of the Easter story end abruptly: “They fled from the tomb, for terror and amazement had seized them; and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.” I often think of those frightened and stunned men and women, not saying anything to anyone, but headed home to Galilee, to their futures, whatever they might be, armed only with the promise that “he is going ahead of you to Galilee: there you will see him, just as he told you” (Mark 16:8).

It’s as if the writer knows where the human race will go with the Easter message, and wants to stress that the life ahead is not about bunnies and chickens and eggs but about the reality of death and ambiguity and tragedy in history. And it’s about a greater reality, the power of God’s love that brings life out of death. It’s about the future and it is, finally, about hope.

One of our contributing editors, Walter Brueggemann, puts it in a way that strikes me as just right for this Eastertide: “Because of Easter I can come out from behind my desk, my stethoscope, my uniform, my competence, my credentials, my fears—to meet life a little boldly.”

May it be a bold and hopeful Eastertide.