The Wilderness and the Borderlands: Easter

unnamedI am writing this on the edge of Lake Michigan. With the water waving gently, the seagulls chirping joyfully, and the wind breezed; I think about the resurrection. The resurrection of Jesus Christ as attested to by the Scripture. As a Christian, I know the significance of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. However, as international student, who studies theology not by using my own language, it is difficult to give the meaning for Easter this year. And I found that studying the doctrines which systematically explains about the resurrection does not directly translate to my heart’s meaning of it.

When I remember my friend who recently grieved because her mom passed away; when I remember hundreds of university students are slaughtered in Kenya; remembering Mary Jane Veloso, a 30 year old Filipina mother sentenced to death by the Indonesian Supreme Court for drug trafficking, even though she was tricked into carrying luggage containing heroin; remembering women with intellectual and physical disabilities in Indonesia who suffer domestic violence and sexual abuse; remembering children in Palestine who live in trauma due to the “eternal” conflicts in their lives; seeing the homeless striving and starving in the cold weather; meeting people who feel lonely; and thinking about an unpredictable future; the teaching that Jesus suffers in solidarity and that His resurrection brings hope does not easily resonate in my heart.

As English is not easy for me to understand, relating the resurrection of Jesus Christ and the reality of pain and suffering is hard to articulate. Mostly, we celebrate the resurrection day in a joyful sense. For now, I feel it is difficult to be joyful merely because of the Church’s teaching of the resurrection. I think we need to celebrate the resurrection by acknowledging that our languages are limited to grasp the reality of Jesus resurrection. When we deal with people who use sign language, the meaning of the resurrection is interpreted by the interpreter to express the meaning. It is different in each country and region, and I am sure that it is not exactly similar with the text book explanations on Jesus resurrection. Even for people with intellectual disabilities, the resurrection cannot be systematically explained by words at all. However, I believe that the birds, the plants, and even the sands are embraced by Jesus’s resurrection. Creation expresses joyfulness of Jesus’s resurrection in its own ways, sometimes their expression is beyond human imagination and language. Eventually, in our disability to grasp His resurrection, we need to remember that Jesus does not only overcome the pain and the suffering of the creation but also embraces that experience as part of His being. We need to celebrate it!

The Spirit of God is a life that bestows life,
root of world-tree and wind in its boughs.
Scrubbing out sin, she rubs oil into wounds.
She is glistening life, alluring all praise,
all-awakening, all-resurrecting. —Hildegard of Bingen–


Isabella Novsima Sinulingga is a Global Scholar from Indonesia, and is focusing her academic work on exploring disability theology.  She is an active member of McCormick’s Global Communities and serves as a deacon for the student body.