I’ve been outdoors looking for Easter today. Signs of resurrection are everywhere: In the renewed friendship with the neighbors, whom I imagined were rather frustrated with me for not keeping up with the yard work in the least for the last 10 years. Not only were they friendly and talkative over the fence, they saw my struggle using a snow shovel to spread mulch and offered to loan me their metal rake which worked 10 times better…
I saw Easter in my soul when I found myself noticing the beauty of the tree buds, the periwinkles bedded with the daffodils, the warm sun, the worms and ants in the fragrant soil, and felt a burgeoning hopefulness that my yard, which has been a source of some embarrassment, could actually comfortably entertain guests this summer without shame (you’d have to see the crazy amount of overgrown brambles and lack of normalcy in my lawn to believe me).
Easter is named after an ancient springtime festival, and on one level, it’s all about participating in the transformation of what seems dead or embarrassing or painful into an experience which is something incredibly new and different: like the incredible hope given to me by neighbors who weren’t condemning me or my yard. Easter is when hope finds us when we’re sure we’re lost for good. A fancy theological word for that is “redemption.”
Now, I imagine some of you are mildly wondering (or freaking out majorly) because I haven’t mentioned Jesus yet. Isn’t Easter about his resurrection?
Of course. But his resurrection is supposed to be, among other things, a pointer for us to look for signs of resurrection in the world around us. ‘Cause if we think resurrection and Easter are only about something that happened once 2000 years ago, and that it has nothing to do with us unless we’re dying….we’ve got a lot of exciting things to learn about why so many people love Easter, far beyond the chocolate!
Here’s two beautiful quotes for you from my treasure chest of favorites, in answering the most important questions of the Christian faith in ways that make my skin tingle. There are many, many ways to answer these two questions, so if these don’t seem helpful, no worries. Find another Christian to ask. There are as many ways to answer these questions as there are followers of the Way.
Question #1: Who was/is Jesus?
“One whose awareness of the Divine Presence within him was so keen, and his response to the Divine Presence so full, that he was empowered to live and love so powerfully that those who encountered him were often made whole themselves and more fully equipped to say yes to that same Divine Presence that was also in them.”—Phillip Gulley, The Evolution of Faith: How God is Creating a Better Christianity
Question #2: What is the meaning of Jesus the Christ dying on the cross and then being resurrected?
” ‘Christ crucified’ is all of the hidden, private tragic pain of history made public and given over to God.
‘Christ resurrected’ is all suffering received, loved, and transformed by an All-Caring God. How else could we have any kind of cosmic hope? How else would we not die of sadness for what humanity has done to itself and to one another?
The cross is the standing statement of what we do to one another and to ourselves. The resurrection is the standing statement of what God does to us in return.”—Richard Rohr, Franciscan priest
May you find Easter happening around you, and within you, and between you and your neighbors over and over ad infinitum in this season of your life, whatever the state of your yard.