Did I forget to mention? He is risen!
Like many pastors I know, the day after Easter is a very special day. While the week leading up to the holy day is a time for deep meditation, the day that follows is a time for deepest vegitation. This year I went above and beyond my usual post-holiday couch potato state, and went to another state entirely–Nevada. More specifically, Vegas.
While there is a great deal to “Do” in Vegas (for better or worse) what my spouse and i most enjoy doing on these trips is a great deal of nothing. After a week of Holy Week running and doing–which, this year, conincided with a death in the family and quick trip home (him) and an ill-timed illness (me). Add in a teething toddler and some first-trimester fatigue, and we were sooooo past ready to leave our lives for a few days. A great deal of nothing, indeed. It was bliss.
I share this to justify the fact that, after Good Friday, I left us hanging in the blogosphere, supsended between suffering and resurrection, pain and hope, indefinitely. Not that any who read this especially NEEDED my written word to experience a joyful Sunday morning. I doubt anyone was waiting for my ok that Easter could, in fact, unfold; none of you were watching for me to post that the cave was empty. Hopefully, you rose on that morning and found out for yourself.
However, if you didn’t… if you did not get to make that journey to the joyful emptiness this year, then i am ever reminded, as church seasons turn, that our real-time lives do not always match up with that of the liturgical calendar. Several times a year, I must plan a service for which I am not in the proper spirit; and i must preach sermons in a moment or occasion that i know to be grossly out of step with the lives of about half my congregation.
In every season, the church seeks to bear good news to it’s surrounding community, and bring it in a timely, relevant fashion. But the truth is, we live much of our lives in that suspension between loss and hope, heartache and revelation. This is the life of faith we signed on for, and this is the story we tell–that even if your own story this day is Easter, you can find a neighbor who needs a Good Friday word. And if you cannot find the truth of Easter in your very moment, then the body of Christ reminds–no, promises you–that it is coming.
The deserts of Advent and Lent take us through very different climes. The light is ever-changing. Christmas dawns for couples struggling with infertility; prodigal children return home to joyful families on Good Friday; E.R. doctors and even the guy in charge of the morgue go to work on Easter morning, and they remain in business. Weddings and great feasts happen throughout Lent, and babies are born every blessed day of the year. Thank God. Thank God, if your story is life and hope and promise when the church says it’s time to mourn. And yes, thank God also, if you must grieve through a holy day that calls for celebration. Because to everything there’s a season; and in the darkness of suspension, in the uncertain places between here and there, remains a promise of new life, and a living, breathing story of how it takes shape among us. If not today, then certainly, tomorrow.
He is risen! He rose on Sunday, and that’s been awhile, but in my life, in my place of ministry, in the blooming desert around me, he is still up and moving. This is the story we get to tell. Alleluia!