If yesterday was Easter special, this week may return to post-Easter ordinary. Or not? I take my cues from the likelihood that the first disciples dealt with the same choice. “He is risen” had not yet reached the ears of many of them—some may not have known anything except the desolate sadness of Jesus’ death. And those for whom resurrection was as tangible as an evening meal may still have wondered what they should do next. “Now what?” questions may have been wafting in the Spring air like hard-to-identify fragrances.
I know this ambivalence about Easter’s echoes into life’s nooks and crannies. During this past Holy Week, several sobering events transpired—medical diagnoses and difficulties as close as dear friends and family members, and news as far away as the machinations of a nearly maniacal president. The messages and meanings of the week—including Easter—have not been lost on me. It’s been both comforting and instructive to review again the emotional themes of these days as they roost in my own soul and spirit.
The disciples’ uncertainty about what to do and what to think? That’s where I am right now. My mind is full of questions—“What’s ‘resurrection’ about while we’re still living?” “What do I do about deep sadness that’s refueled by ongoing news, ongoing medical crises, ongoing needs around me?” “Who’s depending on me for hope, humility or wisdom?” “Where are the better answers hiding?” “Is God’s deliverance stuck in traffic?” and “What am I supposed to do about all of this in the warm light of Easter?”
Let me try on some small thoughts that have flitted in and out of my brain during the past week and in this day’s Easter afterglow.
First, I don’t want to forget Easter Saturday, the day when Jesus “preached to the dead” and told the Devil that the jig was up. That sermon theme: Satan, your imagined power has been trumped and your fondest wishes are now dashed to the depths of Hell. There’s hope in that remembering: Evil is done for, the Serpent now only able to thrash around in its death-throes. I can look at national/global events and take comfort that even my small efforts might contribute to tipping evildoers off their pedestals. Jesus’ Saturday preaching gives me as much hope as Jesus’ Sunday coming-back-to-life.
I can take seriously my sacred obligation to be part of God’s rescuing hand, in whatever circumstances I find myself or others. There’s a life lesson in Resurrection, something that challenges me to do more than just being glad about eternal life. No matter my age or my sorrow right now, I am still called to be part of God’s small-r redemptions in other’s lives. Even if weighed down with sadness, I can still show love and give comfort where they are in short supply. Assured of God’s power to restore the world—and me—with forgiveness, I can wildly and readily forgive. Set free from the fear of death, I can make each day—for others and for myself—an exercise in practiced gratitude and generosity. Blessed by both joy and grief, I can walk alongside those who are pinned down by their burdens.
In simple terms, I can bring yesterday’s alleluias into today’s tasks, relationships and possibilities. The multitude of my questions notwithstanding, I can become part of God’s Gospel answers for those around me. During this week and those that follow….
Nothing ordinary about any of that!
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