No matter how prepared we think we are, we are never quite prepared for the shock of resurrection. We must not domesticate the event. It is wild and untamed, unforeseen and unexpected. It casts its shadow (or better, light) on all that precedes it. Easter should always come as a surprise. Yet it is the only event that makes sense of all that Jesus taught.
God is greater than a reluctant friend. God is better than the most caring parent. God wants to share a deep, intimate, and mutually reciprocal relationship with us. Our challenge is to possess the holy boldness to approach God at all times and for all things, trusting God to provide what we need most.
According to the Christian tradition, the greatest sin is that of spiritual pride. Spiritual pride mimics righteousness but its fruit is evil – hatred, intolerance, and division – and leads us to look down on others and hold them in contempt. We must be ever mindful of the danger of spiritual pride, especially in the midst of our greatest spiritual advances.
Authentic spiritual transformation is slow, incremental, organic, and cumulative. Like human growth, spiritual growth advances by small steps over a long time. Each step builds upon the previous step. We may speed up the process a bit through various experiences but we cannot negate any step along the way.
In order to heal we must often wound. In order to remove cancer, a surgeon must slice open the body and cut out the malignant cells. This is painful, yet necessary, in order to deal with such a deeply invasive evil. The infliction of pain is not the ultimate goal, but a tragic consequence, of the procedure. It reflects the depth of the problem.