“PIPPIN: I didn’t think it would end this way.
GANDALF: End? No, the journey doesn’t end here. Death is just another path, one that we all must take. The grey rain-curtain of this world rolls back, and all turns to silver glass, and then you see it.
PIPPIN: What? Gandalf? See what?
GANDALF: White shores, and beyond, a far green country under a swift sunrise.
PIPPIN: Well, that isn’t so bad.
GANDALF: No. No, it isn’t.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings
On this Easter Thursday, somewhere in between the the divisions happening in our nations, the catastrophe the world now faces, and the problems here now and those coming foretold by Christ, a new dawn is faithfully approaching in our minds, the day when we no longer have to see through a glass darkly but can see at last the Kingdom through a new heaven and new earth where the risen Christ’s resurrection has resurrected all things as truly new!
Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,”[a] for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’[b] or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” (Revelation 21: 1-5)
Eastertide Prayer: Sing praise to our Lord, for He is gracious, it is fitting to praise Him. Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving; sing praise with the harp to our God, Who covers the heavens with clouds, who provides rain for the earth; Who makes grain sprout on the mountains and herbs for the service of men; Who gives food to the cattle, and to the young ravens when they cry to In the strength of the steed He delights not, nor is He pleased with the fleshness of men. The Lord is pleased with those who fear Him, and with those who hope for His kindness.
The speed at which the world wants to resume its same pattern of working for money after remembering what is the most astounding news the world has ever known is a conundrum. Most people seem to be satisfied that some loose idea of things being new has invaded the public mind again and they seem content to stop there at the sight of green leaves and warm weather because winter has been defeated again for a season. But as Chesterton reminds us, what we have in this Eastertide is not a reminder of Spring coming again, but an actual reminder of the reversal of death for all time!
“Let us agree, for the sake of argument, that the man who is outside all religions is really the same man who is inside of all religions. But even the man outside all religions might be asked to observe the differences that stick out on the outside. And one fact that sticks out like a spike as huge as the Matterhorn is the fact that the Christianity which created Christendom did definitely declare that its religious founder unlike the other religious founders, had risen materially from the dead. In the face of that which is not a comparison but a contrast, it is idle to say that this or that ideal or ethical maxim may be found in countless scriptures and philosophies. Nobody ever said that Confucious rose from the dead, and nobody would have been more legitimately annoyed at the notion more than Confucious. Buddha may have believed that men returned in other forms by way of Reincarnation; but he distinctly discouraged them from doing even that, if they could help it. Mahomet may have been caught up to heaven; but he never returned to earth. Mahomet never (for that matter) promised any of the progressive ideals of modern optimism, any more than the physical return of the dead. He never asked men to look for a paradise on earth; though he may have offered them a rather earthly paradise in heaven. Buddha never offered them positive happiness in this life; but only rather a negative happiness through the negation of this life. The paradox of Christendom remains unique; in that it does promise a new fullness of life, but only by an actual reversal of the fact of death. It begins with a material miracle and ends with a new hope of material order and security; it believes that life can be reconstituted because death has been defeated.”
– G. K. Chesterton, Resurrection, Published April 9, 1936, found in the Collected Works of G. K. Chesterton, vol. V