A son of King David once wrote, “Absolute futility. Everything is futile. What does a man gain for all his efforts that he labors at under the sun?”
That feeling of futility and hopelessness that many of us feel these days is not new. More than a thousand years later, Shakespeare called life a “brief candle” and a “tale told by an idiot.” More recently, we’ve heard the less eloquent but equally plaintive complaint that “life’s a bitch and then you die.”
Talking about the futility of life may seem strange for an Easter message, but if King Solomon, one of the wealthiest and wisest kings of the ancient Middle East felt the pointlessness of life despite having everything that he desired, is it any surprise that many of us feel lost and abandoned and alone as we go through life with vastly fewer material comforts? That may especially true as we exit a pandemic that has left many of us unemployed, underemployed, grieving lost friends and relatives, or just plain depressed with the monotony of life.
Even though Solomon was responsible for great public works, try to find anything that he built today outside of an archaeological dig where it has been covered by dirt for centuries. How much more futile is our existence? Even if we are as rich and powerful as Solomon, our lives will soon be fading memories. Presidents become footnotes of history. Great companies go out of business or disappear into mergers. Celebrities are called “stars” for a reason: They shine brightly for a brief time and burn out quickly.
Beneath all the Easter eggs and chocolate rabbits and Easter bonnets (does anyone wear Easter bonnets anymore?), Easter is about victory and triumph over the futility of life. When Jesus Christ rose from the grave, he conquered the futility of both life and death for all of humanity for all time.
If you’ve been a Christian for a long time, it’s easy to lose sight of that. We sometimes lose our focus and look past Christ’s spiritual victory over death and turn our eyes toward political messiahs who promise to lead us to a promised land of our own making. Or to restore our kingdom to its former glory.
But political victory is ultimately futile. If it’s even possible.
We sometimes forget that we aren’t promised victory in the world. Just the opposite. Jesus himself promised us, “In this world, you will have trouble.”
But the second half of the promise gives us hope in our ultimate triumph: “But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
Easter is the symbol of Christ’s victory over the futility of life and the tragedy of death, which can be extended to us. Our hope is built on nothing less.
Those of us at the Racket wish you a triumphant Easter.
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