Displays of lilies or crosses draped in white, scenes of children picking up Easter eggs, families gathered for a special meal, brass choirs and voices raised in Alleluia’s are the images that come to mind as we approach the Festival of the Resurrection. Growing up I particularly enjoyed the variety of hats that women would don for Easter worship.
This Easter however, the images that surface in my heart are of shattered glass in an airport, a cloudy subway platform scattered with debris, and people fleeing in fear. The images that stream into our lives from the violence in Brussels remind us of a broken world; a Good Friday world.
Events like Brussels, Paris, and San Bernardino raise our uncertainty, trip our anxiety alarms and tempt us into despair or bitterness. Our hearts find ways to brace against the onslaught. We wonder what it means to be safe, or we become callous to the worlds wounds or lapse into indifference. All of which are part of the range of feelings we face at the foot of the cross.
Easter is often compared to the inevitable renewal of spring; one of the natural cycles of life. But the “resurrection” is anything but inevitable or predictable. It is a surprise. It is life in the midst of death. It is hope in the season of despair. It is light when only darkness is possible. Resurrection is hope when we least expect it.
Easter reminds us of the persistent Spirit of Life at work in the world that receives the world’s worst and opens pathways of transformation. Easter is the promise of a Creative force at work; redeeming the violence and harm that unnerve us, creating space so that peace may come.
Just as Easter transformed the devastated hearts of despondent disciples in Jesus’ time, Easter creates the possibility that even the violence and terror of Brussels can be redeemed today. Easter becomes the source of recommitment to the path of peace in the wake of the world’s worst. Easter calls forth from deep within us our best, the imprint of our Creator. Easter recognizes in us – unprepared, fearful, resentful as we may become – the holy breath of God that brings us life.
May your Easter experience today bring hope and joy and surprises that would make you bold.