HOPEFUL

Why We Need Easter in a Time of Trump

We are barreling into a me-first, we-first, America-first future.

Photo Illustration by Elizabeth Brockway/The Daily Beast

If there was ever a year we needed Easter, it is this one. If there was ever a time for a Resurrection, it is now.

We walk streets and navigate spaces more divided than ever. A steady series of tremors move along our major fault lines—race, gender, class, immigration status, religion, sexual orientation and more—and we spend our lives bunkered, preparing for the quake that brings it all down.

Our days seem to move to the rhythm of the man in the White House, even those of us who resist him. Depending on where you stand, each lashing-out of his generates either a cheer or an outcry. It becomes a shifting tide of energy tossing waves of rage first out toward the ocean, and then back on the shore.

We are barreling into a me-first, we-first, America-first future. We cannot feed the hungry and nourish ourselves, they say. We cannot protect refugees and ensure the safety of our own families, they say. We cannot specifically value black life and more generally love all life, they say. We must narrowly and carefully define the boundaries of our "we," and place well-armed sentries atop newly fortified walls.

This is a turning-in time. A turning-on time. And we are indeed shifting and turning, back into something we have been before and said we would never be again.

In the middle of all of this, for some of us, there is Easter. A mystical break in rawly natural times.

A faultless man absorbs the faults of others. A hated man refuses to respond to scorn.

He willingly ascends a cross built for public torture.

He sacrifices himself for the good of the world. Through his embrace and defeat of death, he brings others life.

The scriptures that tell the story are jarring juxtaposed against the values of our days:

"For God so loved the world that he gave his only son...""...while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us..."

One wonders if we can ever be an Easter people. What will provoke a return to grace; what can make us whole again or perhaps whole for the first time?

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I don't know what it will take. An election or a disaster. New leadership or cataclysmic loss. The resistance may need to reach its pinnacle or the man in Washington might need to hit his penitential floor. Or maybe it's not as much about them or him, and instead we will have to take the lead. Maybe we will have to grow so sick—of vitriol and bias, cynicism and trolling, anger and war—that we finally do what takes to experience the internal transformation that collectively feels like national atonement.

It is a far off place to imagine. Especially when warships are moving and MOABs exploding, and we’re bracing ourselves for the next breaking news report or fiery tweet.

But there is no sunshine as hopeful as the one on Sunday morning. There is no day like Resurrection Day to dream.

On such a day perhaps we’ll catch a glimmer of a different future, bright enough to light a path that helps us get there. And maybe once we see it, we will take a step. Towards Easter.