This morning is different.
I’m not fighting the wrinkles in my son’s sport coat nor fighting my daughter about her itchy dress. We aren’t rushing out the door of our house and into the red doors of a church. This Easter doesn’t smell like lilies by the altar, it doesn’t look like packed pews of smiling faces. There are no flowered crosses or egg hunts with church friends. If I’m being honest, I’m not even feeling all that joyous or triumphant. I feel sad and confused and worried. I feel uncomfortable celebrating when there is so much grief and loss in our world.
Yesterday I was overwhelmed by all the things Easter would not be this year. I felt a little bit like the Grinch near the end of Dr. Suess’ book and subsequent movies who puzzled until his puzzler was sore.
Despite the Grinch’s best efforts, he couldn’t stop Christmas from coming to Whoville. Christmas came without ribbons, tags, and bags. Christmas came just the same, because Christmas is more than stuff you buy at the store.
Easter has come this year even though not all of us are full of resurrection cheer. Just as the Grinch realized Christmas was more than stuff from the store, Easter is more than what happens inside red church doors.
While Easter is surely about joy and celebration, it must also be that feeling of desperation. I think about the women who rise before dawn, then see the guards lying as if dead right there on the lawn. They meet a stranger dazzling in white, that plus an empty tomb, imagine their fright. The risen Jesus then appears, first there is confusion and then come the cheers. The Marys are certain and run to tell others, but the disciples won’t believe them until they hear it from brothers. Easter isn’t exclusively wonder and elation, even at the beginning there was also frustration. This Easter is different, but it came just the same. It came with our sadness, confusion, and chaos. It came because Easter is about more than just us.
Friends, Easter is complicated and has been since the beginning. The women were scared. The men doubted. The guards fainted. Even Christ who overcomes death does so with wounded hands, feet and pierced side. Today we can celebrate his resurrection and still carry the marks of our own pain. Easter feelings are not mutually exclusive.
If it still feels like Good Friday for you, I completely understand. I hope you’ll give yourself space and permission to weep.
If you feel ecstatic that Easter finally arrived after 40
years days of Lent, then embrace it. Break your fasts and live this season joyfully!
If you feel like a total mess of mixed emotions, then you are channeling your inner Magdalene. You’re in fabulous company.
Easter is complicated, but thankfully it came just the same.