In less than three weeks Christians will celebrate Easter, the day that defines the heart of the Good News of hope and new life. But what does resurrection mean? And how would we recognize it today?
Early on Easter morning, people across the globe will gather on hilltops, by lakes, ponds, and ocean, and in graveyards and look East to catch the first glimpse of the rising sun. We will remember that “Early in the morning on that first day, before the sun had risen, the women went to the tomb.” Those lonely witnesses went to mourn their loss and stand in the solidarity of their grief following Jesus’ death.
However – the story tells us – Good News interrupted them. The tomb was empty. Jesus was no longer dead, but alive! The long night of sorrow and loss was over. The dawning light invited them to experience hope.
On Easter morning, we will celebrate that long-ago event. But because we believe that God is still speaking, we will also wonder – what is this God of new life doing right now? Where do we experience Easter hope today?
I celebrate glimpses of resurrection in these lives:
- The woman who is weeks away from retirement after a satisfying nursing career. Leaving the familiar routine behind is both frightening and exhilarating. The future holds yet unknown possibilities. Resurrection includes exploration and discovery.
- The special education teacher who was brutally attacked by her young adult student. Instead of living with the fear she experiences whenever she re-enters the school, she is leaving her much-loved profession and venturing into self-employment. There is cautious optimism amidst the sorrow. Easter recognizes loss while affirming new life.
- The grieving widower who can barely get out of bed in the morning. His sorrow feels like a weighted blanket that surrounds him with unrelenting pain. Yet I witness the tender love of his family and friends who gently remind him he is not alone and I hold out hope for him to find his way forward. Jesus’ wounds were visible on Easter. He was forever marked by pain, yet still filled with the renewing Spirit.
- The man diagnosed with a terminal illness. Knowing there is no cure, he is determined to live each remaining day to its fullest. He has re-ordered his life so it is filled with family and friends, as well as opportunities to volunteer and make a difference while he can. Easter turns all of us into witnesses of resurrection.
“The Light shines in the darkness and the darkness cannot overcome it,” we proclaim on Easter. We stare death, loss, and grief in the face and declare that God is present in those painful places. When the world cowers in paralyzed fear, we venture into sadness with those brave women, searching for signs of new life and prepared to be eyewitnesses of God’s miracles.
Resurrection happens every day. What will it look like for you?