Easter isn’t just one day—it is an entire season. The next fifty days celebrate Jesus’ victory over Sin and Death—which is even longer than Lent. It’s a reversal that resounds through all time and eternity, but can we party that long?
You may have experienced that Easter joy again this year, where the truth of the resurrection felt fresh and real. Perhaps you sensed the immediacy of it, like the women at the tomb when they were told by two bright angels that Jesus was not there because He had risen from the dead. Or when Jesus appeared to the disciples in the upper room in his resurrection body that was no pale ghost, but was His real Jesus self, translated.
In such times of Easter joy, there is certainty that every power that ever dared to war against God has been brought to nothing. Prayer is as easy as breathing, and it’s like there is grace for small annoyances. …Like when you realize that you just sat on a tiny piece of Zach’s stray Easter chocolate and now you realize that nothing will ever get chocolate out of velvet. Also, why were you wearing velvet?
Or maybe Easter is more like the golden hour, that time late in the day where the sun is so low in the sky it bathes everything in perfect candlelight, but it slips away too soon. How often do we miss this daily ritual promising we’ll pay attention another day? I wonder if that was what it felt like for the disciples. After the resurrection, Jesus stayed with them—not just for a weekend—but for weeks and weeks. And if we’re honest, how sustainable is Easter joy in our everyday life?
And what happens to Easter joy when something dramatic and tragic crashes in? I used to think that my life was like a melody, but then when the crisis hit, everything just stopped. I couldn’t find the tune, couldn’t put it together, couldn’t make it sound just like before.
We live with constant reminders that there is something seriously wrong in this world, our own Paradise Lost. Cells that multiply when they shouldn’t. Senseless violence. Gas leak explosions. Fractured relationships. As the Canadian poet (and national treasure) Leonard Cohen said, “There is a crack in everything.”
Sorry. Am I Lent-ing the crap out of your Easter?
I started wondering what if this huge tragic thing that has crashed into my life has set in motion a deeper resonance, sounding together with the old melody? What if I can go on singing, but with a new intensity that rings truer somehow?
Since then I have been thinking about joy as something we live into.
In all that we live with. And precisely because of what we live with.
We are an Easter people living in the story that started under the bright stars in a stable at Bethlehem, moved into the darkness that shrouded Christ on the cross, and now stands breathless before biggest occasion to crash into our history. Fleming Rutledge calls it “the transhistorical event,” where the true nature of God was revealed in Christ.
The resurrection is not a set piece. It is not an isolated demonstration of divine dazzlement… Since the resurrection is God’s mighty transhistorical Yes to the historically crucified Son, we can assert that the crucifixion is the most important historical event that has ever happened. …The resurrection ratifies the cross as the way “until He comes.” The Crucifixion (44)
We live in the now and the ‘not yet.’ And in the meantime, which is what we have—the ‘meantime’—our songs are like those in Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings on the Fields of Cormallen, where the minstrel sang to all the host “until their hearts, wounded with sweet words, overflowed, and their joy was like swords, and they passed in thought out to regions where pain and delight flow together, and tears are the very wine of blessedness.”
Christ has died, Christ has risen, Christ will come again! Alleluia!