Perhaps you did not, growing up, have the delight of reading about Doctor John Dolittle, M.D. In that case, you probably have not heard of the Pushmi-Pullyu, a rare gazelle-unicorn cross with heads on both ends. Or perhaps those two previous sentences made complete sense to you because you too have discovered rare and exotic species in these children’s books. Either way, on this Easter Sunday, it seemed appropriate to bring the Pushmi-Pullyu into the realm of Christian discourse as he wonderfully symbolizes what Easter is about.
Easter is the greatest celebration of the Christian calendar. Of course, it doesn’t get the same fanfare Christmas does (probably because there’s less gift-giving if we’re honest), but it remains the most significant day of the Christian year. It is on this day that Christians join in looking back to that life-changing morning when Christ’s tomb was empty.
Here though we must turn to the Pushmi-Pullyu. The Pushmi-Pullyu is constantly looking both forwards and backwards. With heads on both ends of it’s body, it is aware of both where it has been and where it is going at all times. It is in this dual awareness that we find a powerful lesson for understanding Christ’s resurrection. See what Paul says in 1 Corinthians 15:22-23:
For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ.
Christ’s resurrection, while glorious, is the firstfruits of the final resurrection. Christ is paving the way, providing us with an appetizer for the real meal. So certainly we need to look back and remember and celebrate. But Easter is not simply about remembering and rejoicing for what has been done. It is equally about looking forward and anticipating joyfully what will be done. And in the midst of this we live and worship our Father for what he is doing by the Spirit, as he prepares our souls, tilling the soil and introducing us day-by-day to this resurrection-life.
I guess we could all just spend today looking back and rejoicing, but Easter is a whole lot more. The stone was not just rolled away from Christ’s tomb that day, it was rolled away from mine and yours as well. It is because of that resurrection that we can look forward to the day where we will see our living Savior face to face, living lives that seek to glorify him today.
May we live the Spirit-filled Pushmi-Pullyu life today and always, looking both back and forwards, remembering and anticipating, as the Spirit works in us day-by-day.