When I was a child Easter was about getting a new dress, a hat to match, patent leather shoes, and white gloves. We celebrated the resurrection, had lots of people in church and many people who joined the church that day. We hid Easter eggs with our cousins in our grandparents’ yard, so we were happiest when the day was sunny and the grass was bright green and growing. As Protestants it was the empty cross that we lifted up. We paid little attention to the days that had come before.
Now it’s the whole story of these last days of Jesus that inspires me. Jesus’ struggle with what is coming, his choice to go to Jerusalem anyway, the betrayal of him and his arrest, the trial, the question of whether he had done anything wrong, the brutality, and the screaming of the people demanding that he be crucified—these events resonate with our times and our stories. I hear the pain and protests of those who claim black lives matter; and I hear the hidden struggles, suffering, and unfairness that so many people endure.
To live through the story each Easter season is to be reminded that we do not suffer alone, that God understands, cares, and loves us in the midst of our own suffering, no matter how great or how small, no matter how deserved or undeserved it is. The story of the resurrection offers hope when there seems to be no reason to hope.
The challenge is to be present in this Easter story with eyes to see, ears to hear, and a heart that is open. It is all too easy to be skeptical and dismissive instead.
What stumbling blocks or particular joys do you experience with Easter?
When life seems unfair and you can’t fix things, where do you find hope?
Sitting quietly in a comfortable chair with feet on the floor, imagine yourself in one of the scenarios that are part of the passion narrative. Where are you in relation to Jesus? What do you see, hear, smell? How do you feel? What do you say? What do you learn?
For further reference:
Read any of the gospel passion narratives—Matthew 26-28; Mark 14:27–16:8; Luke 22:39-24:53; John 18-21.
“For God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God’s weakness is stronger than human strength.” (See I Corinthians 1: 18-31.)