So how does that fit with Easter? How can it be reconciled with the joy of Christians on their holiest of holy days?
The answer from inside the faith is that pain and suffering are irrevocably linked to the joy of Easter through the agony and death of Christ on the Cross.
Easter is about resurrection, salvation and hope, all of which follow from the agony of Christ and the loss of his life. The Crucifixion is, in part, about tragedy. The empty tomb is, in part, about rescue from tragedy.
Some of the faithful resent it when nonbelievers, linking the holy day to the arrival of spring, suggest that what’s really at work is a pagan-like celebration of winter’s end and a rejoicing at the rebirth of nature. Another way of looking at it, however, is that the change of seasons can serve as a powerful analogy of some of the faith’s tenets — of how the worst parts of us can die away and be replaced by the new and how life can be transformed from desperation to glad anticipation.
Many outside the faith would concur with that portion of the Christian message that says self-sacrificing love is needed more than ever when something precious is broken, and that from such love, wholeness can be restored.
In all of this, there is reason for joy, and out of the joy can come great goodness, even though tragedies persist.
Easter is never at odds with history. The human being is ever in need of reassurance, whether large events are mostly pleasant or are filled with violence and ugliness.
For Christians, Easter worship provides the reassurance of God.
Thus, to all of our readers, we wish the most joyful of Easters.