Teaching at a small school in the buckle of the Bible Belt, my students are sometimes startled when I talk about the Christian mythos as a comic story — an idea I learned from Northrop Frye. The story of love, separation and reunion is the quintessential comic structure, though (Boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy and girl reunite), and of course that’s the Christian story as well — the story of Creation, Fall, and eventual reunification through the Resurrection we celebrate today.
The events of Easter are the moment at which the happy ending is guaranteed, and they happen just after the darkest moment in the story, which we observed on Good Friday. Everything thereafter — the Philippians moment (Anagnorisis!), the final Apocalypse — is denouement. My friends sometimes wonder how I reconcile my faith with my cynical view of the world and my distrust of the schemes of humanity. In a way, I think it’s my recognition of the world as the stage on which the comedy is played. We’re poor actors, forgetting our parts and ad libbing at inappropriate moments. We’ve defaced the stage, dressing it poorly with our own gimcracks. We costume ourselves in travesty, turning ourselves into grotesque parodies of the parts we were meant to play. I see all these things — I have done all these things, and I think most of us do. But as I said earlier, the happy ending is guaranteed.
As I have noted in the past, I grow fonder of Easter as I grow older — not just for the personal promise, but for the promise it offers that I will see the people I’ve lost, and (I hope) the people who have lost themselves, made whole in the Presence of the Resurrected Lord.
Happy Easter, everyone. He is risen, indeed.