I will not be attending Easter services today.
I will not witness the rows of shiny, white patent-leather shoes, frilly dresses, and uncomfortable neckties. I will not gasp when the black shroud is dramatically pulled down from the cross. I will not hear the Hallelujah Chorus. I will not see the lilies. I will drink coffee. I will reflect. I will probably write. I will enjoy the Mason jars filled with orange tulips on my kitchen table. And later, I will decorate Easter eggs with my daughters. I might even open a bottle of champagne.
I’ve been pondering all of this; what it means and feels like to be disconnected from this Sunday’s tradition, but still umbilically tied to its rituals, its in-my-DNA tug and influence. I’ve pondered even more of how Easter is not exclusive to the church; how if it offers meaning, if it matters, then its value remains and must be made known in ways that are rich and relevant for me.
And oh, how rich and relevant it’s been. This whole week, has been rife with symbol and sign (as all weeks are, really). This Holy Week (as all weeks are, really) has called me to story; to death and darkness, to sadness and loss, to questions without answers, to a can’t-see-how-it’s-gonna-happen-but-still-I’m-gonna-trust kind of hope, to perseverance, to risk, to courage, to voice, to confidence, to places and people who call me to more. This whole and holy week has called me to life; to my life. And isn’t this, above and beyond all else, what Easter is about – church, religion, or no?
“Why do you look for the living among the dead?” asked Jesus when he encountered Mary in the graveyard.
Indeed. My holy and whole life (and yours) is to be found and experienced where life dwells: in deep breaths and coursing blood, in muscle and bone, in earth and water, in conversation and silence, in laughter and tears, in friends and foes, in facing fears and choosing love, in the sacred stuff of every day.
So breathe in and rise up. A new day dawns. Light gleams. Stones move. The earth quakes. Buried, silenced, and shrouded ends. Tombs are emptied. Veils are torn. Angels appear. Graveclothes are shed. Death does not have the final say. Song breaks forth. Miracles occur.
And resurrection always comes.