I’ve always been an Easter person.
I loved the profound uniqueness of this story as I was growing up. It was our festival. The world around didn’t really care. There were no presents to get worked up about. There was just the wonder and the mystery of a man dying for me. A cup. A cross. A curtain torn. The saddest darkest day. An empty tomb. Breakfast on a beach and the voice of the one who loves us most calling our name.
I’ve always been an Easter person. This story has never let me go, from the first time I felt it wrench my soul as a 9 year old on a church youth group weekend away. From the ways as a teenager I would embrace the sorrow and quietness of Good Friday and walk up to Guildford Cathedral, somehow sensing the need to be somewhere where I felt very small and God felt very big.
I’ve always been an Easter person. The pathos, the despair, the dark weeping in the garden, the overwhelming friendship of someone who was willing to take on our darkness, bring total wonderful relationship with my maker and enable the world to know the freedom to be loved, held and given strength in the darkness.
I worried this Easter that I’d missed the wonder. That my soul had grown cold and weary of life. The last three weeks have sent me stumbling in fear, disappointment and confusion as the lovely husbandface has had a dip in health again. Last night I trudged into our Passover meal at church feeling numb and scared. We sang again and again the refrain. “Come all you weary and burdened by life and you will find rest for your souls”. Friends looked at me and asked how I was with meaning. I left walking in the dark with tears, the numbness seeping away as I expressed (a polite word to describe some internal shouting and swearing) my fears to my God.
We woke this morning and I read the boys all their Easter books. It’s Good Friday. I want to remember this story that is etched in my soul, this story that defines who I am and what I believe about this world. I wanted to remember me as I read. I broke down in tears at a God who would take on the shame of the cross, who would die so that life could come spreading like a thaw over a frozen world. I cried at a curtain torn and arms of love spread wide wide open. I wept at the one who knows what silence from God feels like. I wept at one who knows my sorrow, who took on the sickness and sadness of the world to bring wholeness. (The boys stared at my face asking if they were sad or happy tears. Both is the answer.).
I’m an Easter person. This story is the best one. The one that changes everything. Whatever else we make of the fairly random things Christians like to make more important or get worked up about (and always have over the ages and probably always will, we seem to like arguing over the fine print), this story is the one that matters. The one that sticks in the dark nights when you wonder if anything could be alright again. Today we mourn. Tomorrow we taste the silence and on Sunday, oh we long for the final Easter morning when the sun will shine out the clearer and we will see our Hope riding down the mountains in the morning mist to sweep us into arms of love and welcome us into a new world of no more tears and no more pain. (No apologies for the liberal plagiarism from Lord of the Rings..)
In a world of mystery and confusion. In a world of doubt and despair. In a world of pain and no easy answers. This story holds me still.
I’ve always been an Easter person…