That first Easter was made in stillness…
in empty spaces where a scattered people once gathered
in uncertainty, unknowing, and unprepared how-in-the-world-did-we-get-here unsureness.
And this one is made in keeping each other company within the silence of our hearts as we go through the motions we can while mourning the ones we can’t.
That first Easter was made in darkness…
in stumbling together on the way to a tomb that contained everything they thought they’d been living for.
And this one is made in walking together-while-apart, virtual companions on a path we can’t even see yet.
That first Easter was made in grief…
in crushing sadness over what was lost and with no idea how anything could ever be the same again.
And this one is made in admitting that no, things are not the same…
but also in reminding each other that in these parallel Easter stories, we have the advantage.
We know already how this Story will end.
My friend says, “It’s the Lentiest Lent that ever lented.” I repeat her words in the kitchen and wonder aloud––what’s Easter if your cross is just as heavy when you wake up Sunday morning as it was on Friday afternoon?
My husband, still quick with a sermon title after all these years, reminds me: not all Easter Alleluias come easily. The first ones certainly didn’t. But Alleluia, anyway.
Christ isn’t in that tomb, or in any other one––
except as the One who never lets Death have the last word.
Where he is present isn’t in the stillness of defeat––
except to whisper, “This isn’t over yet.”
Some Easters are made of Alleluias borne on golden, soaring chords toward heaven, carried by the singing of children and the scent of lilies, effortless, effervescent.
This one is made of Alleluias murmured through tears, pressed out from between clenched teeth, spoken with a full knowledge of what we’ve lost but without knowing just how much more we’ve got to let go.
Some Alleluias are hard-fought.
Yes, it’s the Lentiest Lent we’ve ever lived. And when the first morning light begins to shift the sky from black toward grey this Easter, our penances won’t all dissolve
our sorrow won’t evaporate with the night
our losses won’t be magically restored as the sun rises.
He is still risen.
We are still His Body––fingers, eyes, ears––all still connected whether we feel it or not.
This, this moment, is where our faith defines us.
This moment––this very one––is what faith is for.
We have faith. And it is enough to sustain us.
We are still an Easter people.
He is risen, indeed.