Last Sunday was Easter. I kind of feel about Easter the way I feel about Christmas. There’s a lot of hype, and we’re supposed to be celebrating, but the thing is, I’m not good at forced celebrations.
I admit, I was pretty tired last Sunday. On Friday my sister and brother-in-law and I drove southwest for six hours, slept for 6 hours, and then got up and packed my parents’ belongings in a moving truck, drove back the 6 hours northeast, and unloaded said belongings into their new home in Nixa. It was a good couple of days, and worthy of celebration, but come Sunday I was beat.
And it was Easter. And I was supposed to be jazzed and happy, right?
Because the idea of the resurrection is incredible – it gives us hope, it lightens our hearts, and it engenders trust in the God who came to be with us.
But on Sunday, reading through the accounts of the reality of the resurrection – the stories contained in the gospels about how people reacted to the good news of the resurrection – well, it reminded me of my reality on Sunday.
The disciples, both men and women, were worn out, tired, and sad that Sunday. Their hope was lost. They were trying to take care of the body of the one they loved. Life didn’t make sense anymore. Celebration was not on their agenda.
And even when angels appeared, and the body of Jesus was gone, and even when Jesus appeared to the women, they still didn’t understand. They thought someone moved the body, or stole it, or hid it away.
And when they do start to get it, and try to tell others about it, the others don’t understand either. It’s so far outside the realm of expectation that they can’t seem to even hear what’s being said.
I’m like that, too. Sometimes, the reality of God’s grace, of this new way of living that we call the Kingdom of God, and the reality of the resurrection is just so far out from where I am in my head, and in my body, and in my heart.
And then I am around people who get it, people like those first women for whom the reality of the resurrection was starting to dawn. And while I still don’t always understand how radically different the life God calls us to is, I can see those witnesses, and it slowly starts to dawn on me, too.
And that’s my experience of Easter Sunday. I was tired. I was not celebrating. And then I was around people who are living the love and grace and acceptance that Jesus showed to everyone. And I started to get it. And my exhaustion changed, not exactly to vibrant energy, but to joy, as I saw the people serving each other and talking with each other and loving each other.
And that, I think, was the whole point of the focus this last Sunday – that, while we can talk about celebrating the resurrection, it’s much more powerful to just celebrate the resurrection. We don’t get together at a birthday party or a dance party or a costume party and then talk about how and why we celebrate…we just celebrate! And celebrating the resurrection is the surest way to affirm its truth and reality to everyone.
So thank you, you lovers of God, you celebrators of the resurrection, for living it in a way that made me see its reality, and allowed me to join in your celebration!
Christ is Risen!