Sunday’s comin’.

I’ve been waiting for today for a long time.  Lent was not forty days long this year.  It was what felt like an eternity.  When we’re in periods of doubt, struggle, and painful waiting I think it always seems as though they go on much longer than the calendar measures.  But I believe in Easter.  A friend asked me two days ago why I think the resurrection is the central, essential, critical moment of my faith, a conversation I was not ready to have yet, on Good Friday, waiting in the dark knowing that Easter was coming but that the gulf between them is not forty-eight hours but an eternity, the weight of all the cosmos hanging in the balance.  I just couldn’t talk about resurrection on Good Friday, the day of darkness.  I think of it as the day God got sucked out of the world, though theologically, the image is probably more appropriately described as the day God got pushed out of the world. I’m not a particularly obedient person.  I suck at spiritual disciplines (and maintain that the word “suck” is a theological term).  I don’t listen well, I don’t have very strong will power over my personal habits and choices.  I choose not to obey.  I don’t use the word “promise” lightly.  Those who know me well know that I don’t make promises.  Part of the reason is that I often doubt that I will keep them.  But I trust that God does.  And I have known for months, through a very hard time in my personal life, that God promised me some Easter.

I needed the date, the calendar, to tell me when that would happen, because for months I’ve been working through some things I feel desperately bad and guilty for… and I needed a date on which I could say that I could stop punishing myself for them, could say that I had been taking on my own guiltiness long enough and could put it down in front of God with integrity and honesty and trust that God not only would carry those things for me, but already had been, for a long time.  For always, even.  Perhaps it’s a bit selfish, to need the symbol of the day itself rather than to recognize from minute to minute that grace is, has been, and will be, that God is so much love that there is not only no blame but no need for forgiveness.  But I’m human, and so are you.  God doesn’t begrudge us that.  After all, it’s sort of God’s fault (I say, smiling).  And we human beings tend to need symbols, the enactment of larger truths through the things of the world we can touch, see, smell, and taste around us.  So, today, receiving the bread and cup of communion, passing the peace and an olive branch to some people with whom I’ve been struggling, and singing “hallelujah!” for the first time in a long time.

Resurrection, the total, wonderful, mysterious thing we celebrate on Easter Sunday, is for me the culmination of the whole story.  It is the story.  Without Jesus rising from death, conquering the brokenness of the world made in love by God and shattered into jagged shards by the ones for whom it was created, the coming of God in Jesus means little to me.  The cross, where we revealed ourselves as needing oh, so much more love than we knew, just another religious teacher and convicted criminal executed by the state.  But in the light of this transformation from death to life, Jesus lying dead in a dark tomb and then suddenly present again in the world, there is something there was not before.

Hope.

The resurrection is hope.  It means that we can all become more than we think we are, more than we’ve been told we are, more than we’ve learned to be.  It means that God can bring us up out of the muck we’ve sunk ourselves into.  The muck we’ve dunked others into.  It means new life.  It doesn’t mean a do-over.  It doesn’t mean that all is erased or that the past doesn’t matter or that there isn’t justice for wrongs done.  After all, Jesus still had the holes in his wrists and side when he returned to visit with the disciples.  Those  marks just don’t disappear, though they may fade with time.  It’s a crucified Christ we look to, but one who’s ridden death into its own grave.  There is a strength in survival that just doesn’t exist when that survival doesn’t include struggle and suffering.

So it’s Easter today… the Lamb wins, Sunday always comes, Easter is.  We say, “Christ is risen” for a reason.  It happens over and over.  It happens yearly, weekly, daily… moment by moment and breath by breath and scar by scar.

Christ is risen, indeed.

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1 Comment »

  1. Lyle II Said:

    Thank you for your words and thoughts…


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