on the day before Easter. . .
He is risen. . .
It is the Easter chorus of my childhood. Spoken as a greeting of confidence from one person to the other. Met with the automatic response, “He is risen indeed. . .”
Three words that spoke of renewed hope, accomplished redemption. Death defeated. An announcement of joy. That those waiting, with crushed confidence, living in the weight of misunderstanding and fragmented hearts can take a deep breath of new beginning and hope restored.
We missed Easter this year by some misadventure in planning. Easter is this Sunday in Greece, but last week in Kenya. We left Greece Saturday, and as the sun rose on Easter in Greece we landed in Nairobi.
I find it ironic, in a year where I long so much for the constant reassurance of the resurrection, that we are missing this marker in time. . .instead, we stood in an interminable Saturday, waiting for Easter.
When Jesus died, the people who loved him experienced that Saturday in interminable agony. Maybe some of them understood his three day reference, but most of them were living in the crushing reality of dashed hopes. They hid, thinking of this person who had Seen them, who had spoken truth that flipped the world on its head, who had spoken of first last and loved in unexpected acts of service, had been falsely accused and brutally murdered.
Truth upended. Hope gone. Mob justice crushed goodness.
Evil on display – stunningly victorious.
Jesus’s friends waited in fear, in uncertain quietness, wondering how they could go from feeling like they were on the edge of something brilliant to darkness – that seemed even deeper in contrast to the light it replaced.
Some days, the place I stand seems like Easter Saturday. The brokenness of injustice, relentless poverty, the worry that bias I grew up with cripples my ability to love well – these culminate in a fear that despite my best efforts, what I offer will never, ever be enough.
Instead of responding in trust, I hide in Saturday and look around for the next crisis. Instead of living in the dawning light, I look for the darkness. Instead of trusting in provision, I look at the need. Instead of believing the good, I worry about unseen layers. His purpose is playing out like spectacular stripes of light illuminating the morning sky, and my celebration is laced with cynicism.
So, in this week of the never coming Easter, I found myself thinking about the days leading up to such a paradox of pain and goodness. Friday was the place where God’s hatred of injustice, of brokenness, of pain collided with his deep, perfect, and abiding love for the people in the middle of the mess. That day that, in the midst of pain and darkness, he proved He is for us, not ever against us. Saturday was the place of struggle without the certainty of the resurrection.
And Sunday, Sunday they were able to walk into the reality that the work is inexplicably finished – that His love had broken through in the midst of unfathomable pain.
So I am working to step into Sunday – to realize that I no longer live in the eve of Easter, because He is risen.
He is risen indeed.