Just yesterday, as I was putting the finishing touches on the Easter homily I had been working on for several days, I broke my stride and emailed a friend. I wrote to her:
“I’m here at my desk thinking that, after all the religious and spiritual writing I’m doing these days I must not let Easter go by without greeting you and your family in the spirit of the day. I’m not entirely sure what it means, but I do believe it has a lot to do with our future beyond death. And I do get strength and courage and hope from that conviction. So, to you and your household I wish all the blessings of the Easter event and its commemoration.”
Less than two hours later, she emailed back:
I must share what just happened to me. I was out tending my hoped-for soon-to-be garden. A tiny song sparrow flew right up to where I was standing and began to literally sing his/her heart out. I thought to myself: “You, too, little one, know that it is Easter.” All creation shares in Jesus’ Resurrection. I’m not sure how either, but I know we do. That which created us tells us not to be afraid even if the most horrid and despicable things happen to us. Something glorious awaits us. We should all be singing for joy! Paschal Blessings to you and your beautiful family!
Let me say this one more time, because the connection here is so strong: When my only sister was suddenly dying not quite a year ago, she told her large family surrounding the hospital bed that “something wonderful is happening.” She asked them not to try to stop it.
Whether or not Jesus rose from death in his body, alive again, continues to be studied and debated. But I think the question ought not to concern us overly. We ought instead to shift our attention to his presence here and now. We need to remind ourselves that we don’t pray to a memory or to an historical figure of the past or to an imagined Jesus. We pray to a Jesus whom we know to be alive now, and to be here now, the same Jesus who died some 2000 years ago. In other words, we believe in his resurrection from death and therefore believe in our own future resurrection.
We know Jesus as the light that shines in the darkest corners of our lives.
We turn to him countless times with, “Jesus, help us, please!”
We believe that he is drawing the world to himself, out of its misery and violence.
We feel him accompanying us every step of our life’s journey.
We know he died and was buried; yet we are convinced, as his earliest followers were, that he lives now and will live forever.
Our experience of him is the same as that of his first disciples. After his death, they spoke to him in prayer as they had always spoken to the unseen God. They knew that he was alive and living among them.
I wish you a strong faith this Easter in our troubled nation and our troubled world. That faith will take you above the turmoil within and around you and show you a light that will guide and protect you.
Happy Easter, all!