Day 74 of 460 – JOY (Warning Religious Content)

Today I woke with a feeling of joy as my dreams the previous night were filled with joy. I dreamt of family, of land, of the country side and of my dog Toby who passed away two years ago at 17.5 years of age. In the dream Toby and I were old mates who knew each other well and we had lots of little ‘in jokes’ that can happen between Beings that know each other well.

I was reminded of the sacred time that Easter is and that it celebrates the themes of life, death and rebirth. The very purpose of this Easter weekend reminds us that no matter what we face today or what we’ve been through, or what uncertainties tomorrow may hold, that the Christian message is ultimately one of hope, love and joy.

I don’t believe that you have to be a Christian to receive the gift that Christ gives but you do need to have faith in the message. The Bible at Matthew 28.2-4 says that at the moment of Christ’s death, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. The earth shook, and the rocks were split. The tombs also were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised. After his resurrection they came out of the tombs and entered the holy city and appeared to many.

Pretty cool hey? and according to Paula Gooder in her book The Risen Existence, for Matthew, Jesus’s death was the signal that the world now stood on the brink of something entirely new: God has already begun to inter­vene in the world. [1]

And not only that, then Matthew 28.2-4 goes on to say, And suddenly there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord, descending from heaven, came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. For fear of him the guards shook and became like dead men.

In the face of that much power it is no wonder the men who were guarding the tomb froze through fear but at the same time the women who were present were invited into the angel’s presence before being commanded to spread the message of what they had seen.

I’m no theologian, as a matter of fact, as an anthropologist by trade, I am fully aware of the multitude of belief systems that people across the globe have, or don’t. But I can’t help but be inspired by the incredible power of this story and that in the face of fear, rather than freeze and fall powerless, it is important to rely on the power of love, and be reminded that even at a time when the world seems frozen with fear it is possible to find joy in the midst of the chaos.

One day coming home from work just after Toby died and I was still feeling very sad, I heard as clear as a bell, “Mum look up” and I was so surprised to see what seemed like a cloud shaped figure of Toby. From that moment on my grief lifted and I somehow knew that his spirit continued and that he was happy. Toby taught me that love exists in both life and death.