Anxiety faces us on a daily basis in our post-modern world. Some have a stronger dose of it than others, but all experience it. I grew up during the Cold War era in Virginia and absorbed much of the anxiety of the time. During the 1980’s there were a number of movies that came out about nuclear fallout, such as “The Day After” and “Red Dawn”. There were also a number of people who built bomb shelters and prepared food stocks just in case.
In the present age, a lack of job security, a high divorce rate, single parent child rearing, high mobility, terrorism, and increasing violence among youth has contributed to our collective anxiety. There are also numerous stresses on the environment that are becoming more and more evident with time. These stresses include a world population that is out of control and environmental degradation with scientifically measurable consequences such as holes in the ozone layer and global climate change.
If the current situation is looked objectively, we must accept the enormous probability of a future population implosion. Whenever an animal population out grows the limitations of its food sources, it dyes back to a sustainable number. The same applies to human populations. Food can be genetically engineered to produce more, stronger pesticides and herbicides can be utilized, and land can be manipulated with technological sophistication to bring higher yields. Yet, human ingenuity cannot compete with the current population rate, which doubles every twenty to forty years.
As a person of faith, my anxieties are quelled by the deeply compelling spiritual reality reflected in the Resurrection. Resurrection is not just about belief in the risen Christ. Resurrection reflects the very nature of God. The very nature of the source of life is to regenerate itself against all odds. The resurrection participates in the very mystery of life–that out of nothing came something. My faith convinces me that the source of life will continually regenerate itself in increasingly astonishing and creative ways.
I am encouraged by increasing global communication through telecommunications and the internet. I am also encouraged by increasing interfaith dialogue among prominent religious leaders.
It took Jesus’ death on a cross to convince the Christian community of the reality of resurrection. It may take a mounting crisis with social and ecological components to convince humanity of its common lot–that we all inhabit the same planet and will have to work together to overcome common problems.
My faith tells me, “Yes, calamity awaits, but not annihilation.” Yes, the cross awaits, but it will not have the final word. Yes, there was The Great Depression. There was also FDR’s New Deal. Yes, there was Hitler and The Holocaust. There was also Churchill and FDR’s alliance that saw us through. Yes, there has been a big recession. Yet, Ben Bernanke was the exactly right person for the job at the Federal Reserve Bank, and if you ask me, his swift hand pulled us from the brink. Yes, there are countless horrors of disease, famine, and suffering on the streets of Calcutta, India. There was also a light in this world called Mother Teresa and the sisters of charity who restored dignity to the city and countless other cities. The list goes on… Cesar Chavez, Dorothy Day, Nelson Mandela, Rosa Parks, The United Church of Christ, and countless unsung heroines and heroes…
Unlike those who predict doom, I believe that our creative capacities will overcome our destructive ones. I believe that against the odds generations to come will know a broader scope of peace than we can currently imagine. Why? Because I believe Easter is part of the very fabric of reality!