On Easter and Suffering

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A poor carpenter from Nazareth was put to death this week, died, was buried, and rose from the dead.

Even though Christians do a lot of thinking and talking about tombs on Easter weekend, the story does not end there. It might be the most dramatic element – on the other side, nothing will be the same – but it is still the not-quite-ending the story. Death cannot define a life. As Paul Kalanithi said, “A death is not the sum of a life. A sum of a life is the sum of a life.”

This week was one of intense reflection and gratitude for what we learn at the cross. Suffering is not an affront to God. And I re-learn that every day that I watch others step into the darkness of the Lenten journey and march deliberately toward Easter. As I said in my interview with NBC’s Anne Thompson and the Today Show, you keep adding to the sum of my life, and I see the face of God in you. You are Christ’s hands and feet.

Because of you, and because of Easter, my faith isn’t dependent on whether or not everything in my life works out.

Everything happens. Period.

Everything can happen. Anything could happen.

As Toban so perfectly said in his most grounding casual-wisdom, “What happened to Jesus and the disciples? How can I look at that and expect nothing bad will ever happen to me?”

Everything happened. Life became death. Death became life. A suffering endured; suffering endures.

There are some times in the Christian year where leaning into the mystery of faith makes more sense than trying to find new words. So, I offer you all this blessing by Jan Richardson on the mystery of Christ’s resurrection, and carrying an empty tomb forward into our lives. With openness. With hesitation. With all of it.

_______________________________________________________________________________________________

Seen

For Easter Day

 

You had not imagined

that something so empty

could fill you

to overflowing,

 

and now you carry

the knowledge

like an awful treasure

or like a child

that curls itself

within your heart:

 

how the emptiness

will bear forth

a new world

you cannot fathom

but on whose edge

you stand.

 

So why do you linger?

You have seen,

and so you are

already blessed.

You have been seen,

and so you are

the blessing.

 

There is no other word

you need.

There is simply

to go

and tell.

There is simply

to begin.

 

-Jan Richardson

from Circle of Grace: A Book of Blessings for the Season

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