The Triduum is done. The stone is rolled away. Jesus has appeared to his beloved friends. Death did not have the final word. Joy and Hope have danced in the wee early morning hours and freed our fears, unleashing a power unbeknownst previously. The ending was just the beginning. The long-awaited for Alleluia! has been sung. New life has arrived in all its glory. God has turned our worlds upside down in a surprising act of Love.
At this time of year, here in the North, we have to look carefully for the signs of new life in a fragile spring. Two days ago I walked outside watching butterflies rest their wings wide-open in the warm afternoon sun. I noticed the buds on the trees for the first time. Tiny purple flowers and bright green grass dotted the ground in the park. The world seemed to be resurrecting. Yesterday, mid-afternoon, gathered in my parents’ living room, we all stopped talking as white flurries filled the view from the picture window. The disappointment was tangible but short-lived. This was after all Easter and thus we chose wisely to hang on to Hope.
So it is with our own lives….we wait either in fear or hope. Sometimes, we are suspended in fearful hope, battling back and forth between the two conflicting emotions. Easter teaches us that Hope has a place in our lives – when the doctor’s office calls, a job is lost, a marriage disintegrates, a death occurs, a dream is crushed. The unbelievable can happen. Can God really bring life out of these deaths? I think we can miss God-at-work when we are in a state of turmoil. I know that those buds did not magically spring up on Saturday; they had begun to take shape prior to that but I had not noticed them though I had walked by them even earlier that day.
Years ago, after the end of a relationship that I and many others were sure was heading to marriage, an early morning assignment took me out of town heading west. I was pondering all that had happened when it suddenly began to rain, seemingly just on my vehicle. I grumbled a bit thinking this was just my luck when a beautiful rainbow appeared ahead of me. I glanced in my rearview mirror to see a spectacular sunrise behind me. The weather was teaching me a lesson. What I had had was amazing, what I was going through was challenging, and what would come would be a blessing. Reassurance washed over me. That was one of many resurrection moments for me in life.
Sometimes though, resurrection seems far-off. I am thinking about those situations today. I suppose people could label me as not being too realistic but I think resurrection still can happen. God’s timing is not ours. I am thankful that fear has not gotten the best of me for the majority of the time in which I have learned about the cancer. I think of those people paralyzed by emotions that do not allow them to move forward in life. Many are stuck in devastating depressions that cannot be shaken. Some suffer severe physical pain that causes debilitation and strips joy from life. Right at this moment someone is being tortured. We do not often think of that. We do not spend time contemplating that right now a young girl is being trafficked into the sex slave industry. We may not spend much time in prayer for all those people sitting in the chairs in the chemo rooms or those struggling to take their last breath. Another night is spent sleeping under a bridge on a piece of cardboard for some folks. Halfway around the world, bombs and gunfire are a reality for young people whose lives are shattered. On the surface all of this looks like resurrection is impossible.
Yet isn’t that really why Christ came, was crucified and resurrected? When all was thought lost, Hope with roots so deep, blossomed again. I think about that moment in the tomb when Christ shrugged off his burial cloths and stood up, alone in that dark cave–or maybe surrounded by the angels that yet not visible to the human eye, never left him alone. What chorus rang out in heaven at that moment? What joy unfurled at this miracle? Did Christ throw back his head and laugh out loud? Death did not have the final answer. Not every situation unfolds the way we would like it to but the disappointment does not have to have the last word. More than half of the world lives with only a fraction of material resources that I have and yet, somehow they know how to live with gratitude. Some of the most broken people find a resilience that is inspiring. We are not promised easy lives because we are Christians and getting stuck in that sense of entitlement perhaps does more harm than good. We are promised that the Trinity will be with us until the end of time and that Jesus has gone to prepare a room for us. Death does not have the last say. I believe resurrection is possible and it is to that hope that I cling. Happy Easter to each of you!
Has there been a resurrection of hope for you?
Do you remember to pray for those in need?
Risen One, you bring us Hope and Joy in abundance. May my heart be ever grateful for the signs of little and large resurrections in life. Help me to remember those who are still struggling to leave the tomb this day for whatever reason. May I find signs of life everywhere I look to console and encourage me. Alleluia! Amen.