Our media has been dominated by Malaysian Airlines flight 370. For days upon days we have heard TV commentators, aviation experts, Malaysian, American, and Chinese authorities speaking with little authority on where this plane might be found. There are search planes scanning the Indian Ocean for debris that might be from this plane. There are satellites trying to locate it, and there are ships from different countries, including Australia, trying to spot some shred of evidence that this flight went down in the Indian Ocean. We have seen flight simulators, maps, and technical tracking devices on the TV for days. It is amazing that this entire attempt to find the plane continues after more than two weeks and an answer to this mystery still eludes us, although authorities now say that the flight did crash in the Indian Ocean.
In some ways it is hard to believe that in our technologically advanced society it has taken so long to find out what happened and where, as days tick down till the black box that holds the evidence turns off and all evidence is lost at the bottom of the Indian Ocean.
While this captures our attention, there is enormous concern on the part of the families involved who want to find more than the little black box or some debris floating in the ocean. They want their family member back alive, and if not, at the very least they want to have answers to why this happened.
We live in a world that wants answers to our questions. We want solutions to our problems; we don’t just want to be at loose ends not knowing why something has happened.
I come from a place where I live with a lot of questions and not a lot of complete answers. In other words, mystery is part of the Christian journey. Searching for understanding is always the way of the Christian life. St. Anselm said that, “Faith seeks understanding.” So, we are never left off the hook when it comes to our duty to explore the wonders of our universe and the extraordinary and complex world we live in. This means that if you come to me, you may not hear the answer you want to hear, but you may be given the eyes of faith that see our universe quite differently than many others.
As we approach Easter, we enter into the reason why the Christian faith began and continues. As St. Paul says, “If Christ be not raised, your faith is in vain.” That is the good news that Christians preach. We also try not to be naive because we live in a skeptical, doubting, and unbelieving world. We live with harsh realities of hunger, poverty, injustice. We live in our personal universe where we may experience many dark nights of the soul, grief, anxiety, pain, and sadness. This brokenness I see close up as a pastor on many faces, and if you look hard enough at me this year, you can detect sadness, too.
Easter is not good news unless there is bad news. In our creed that says that Jesus descended into hell (or if you translate it differently, into the dead), there is no place we can go in our despair that Christ will not find us, even hell.
Of course, this is all written by one who lives inside the circle of belief. However, this does not mean that even if you are a person of faith, you don’t doubt or have dark nights of the soul or get depressed and feel totally alone. The only ANSWER that Christians give is that in this seemingly silent and uncaring world we have Jesus and his resurrection, that life is stronger than death, that love is stronger than hate, and that faith gives us hope. To many this sounds like a fairy tale, too good to be true, but to those who gather on Easter Sunday, we find ourselves reciting the creed, especially these words: “We look for the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come. Amen.”
So, as I repeated earlier, we don’t have all the answers, but we do have this one: at some time in the future, like that plane, our life will do down but will never be lost.