Jesus was not afraid of dying and could therefore live exactly as he needed to live, in saying and doing the things that needed to be said and done in the society of his day. Once you are not afraid of death, there is no reason to hold anything back, and you can live straight from the heart with perfect integrity, with your words and actions exactly aligned with that which is integral to your heart and soul. Then, Easter is every day, and you are free to live the life that needs to be lived in each moment. Not even Caesar and the Legions of Rome can take that from you. Nothing can.
This is the key to understanding Easter. You rise from the dead the moment you decide you are going to live no matter what. I believe Jesus made this very decision in the aftermath of the death of John the Baptist. Jesus did not come forth until after John died. John’s death was the resurrection event of Jesus’ life. When John died, Jesus stepped forth from the tomb, in a manner of speaking. And he lived his life from that point on as one who was not afraid to die—as one who put everything on the line all the time. He climbed on his dragon and rode it fearlessly, as we must, if we are to ride our dragon at all.
Did I say dragon? What a coincidence. Look! Here on the Communion Table is a little dragon breaking out of its egg. This is my Happy Easter Egg. It is my symbol of what Easter is about. You’ve heard of Easter Eggs. New life, new birth, resurrection. Happy Easter! Well, here’s an Easter Egg for you. This boy, or is it a girl? This Momma will eat you alive if you are not careful! If you are afraid to die, you better not come close! New life is for those who are not afraid to die. We like the idea of new birth, of new life, but when the egg hatches, a dragon steps forth. The new life eats the old life alive. What do we think?
We think of new life on our terms, all tame and domesticated, with strolls in the park and sweet rolls in the coffee shop across the street. But new life is not just any life. It is not our old life only better. It is new in every way, particularly in what it requires of us. It requires us to live straight from the heart, with perfect integrity, so that our words and our actions are exactly aligned with that which is integral to our heart and soul. That’s new life for you. The old life was never anything like that!
The new life is the life that is the dragon. Living that life is riding the dragon. It’s riding the dragon because you can’t do it if you are afraid of anything, especially dying. You can’t live if you are afraid of dying. Why die not knowing? Not knowing what we could do if we lived holding nothing back? Why hold anything back? We are saving ourselves for what, exactly? We are waiting for what? What has to happen before we have what it takes to reveal ourselves, spring forth, see who we are and what we are capable of doing with the life that needs to be lived, that needs us to live it? What are we waiting for before we jump on the dragon and ride into the rest of our lives?
In order to be alive, we must live the life that needs to be lived, that needs us to live it. We cannot be alive and live any old life, lolling around the pool, snowboarding until the boredom sets in. Only the life that needs to be lived—that needs us to live it—will do. The life that needs to be lived is the dragon! Eating alive and screaming the life we would like to live, wish we could live, want to live.
The three temptations of the Buddha under the Bodhi-tree were desire, fear, and duty. You have to hold the line and stay with what is right for you, no matter what. STAY ON THE BEAM! STAY ON THE DRAGON! The Dragon is the Beam which is the Cross. RIDE THE DRAGON! STAY ON THE BEAM! CARRY YOUR CROSS! Live the life that needs to be lived! “Leave the dead to bury the dead!”, shouts Jesus from the back of his dragon, on his way to die, living a life death could not touch.
Why die having not lived? We owe it to ourselves to incubate the egg and hatch it and see if we have what it takes to ride the dragon throughout our lives. Why die not knowing what we are made of, what we are capable of, whether we have what it takes to do what needs to be done? It’s Easter! Death cannot touch those who are not afraid of dying! Why hold anything back? Ride the dragon!