Been a strange Easter, this one. Full and empty. Empty of emotion, full of stuff – the stuff that comes with children and (at this time of year) egg-shaped chocolate. Full even with church stuff. But empty of Christ, somehow.
I often have a good wallow at Easter, it’s the time of year when I am allowed to dwell on the awfulness of the world and our sinful state. I can keen and moan over the atrocities, the cruelties and the callousness we hear and see so much of that it becomes wallpaper to our daily lives, barely noticed, largely overlooked.
Easter is when I am most usually acutely aware of the contrast between the naked, dying God and myself, one of the comfortable creatures He made, cushioned from the impact of his passion by some two millennia. Long ago and far away, the story that the world can’t quite consign to myth has, at this time of year, the power still to move me. Over the years I have relived the emotions of what Christians call Holy week in all kinds of different kinds of services and easter traditions.
This year has been different.
Because this year I am different. My perspective has changed. I’m seeing the same scenes from a different vantage point. The man is still accused by jealous religious leaders who fear his hold over the crowd. He is still betrayed by his friend, deserted by those who had eaten with him hours earlier. He is still flogged and mocked by the Roman guard. Still an innocent brutally executed. But this man is more than anyone at the time even suspected. They didn’t know what I know. They don’t know how this part of God’s story in our world continues. What the next chapter holds.
This year I am more focused on the risen Christ than the crucified one. They are one and the same, of course. The latter demonstrates God’s frankly incomprehensible love for the world, which is so good at bad, and his solution to the breach that this created between him and his creation. The former, the risen Christ, demonstrates that the evils of the world we live in are not enough to extinguish the hope ignited by the story of the Jewish rabbi who did not stay dead.
Where is he now, then?
With me as I type, as I go about my daily life, listening, shaking his head perhaps in dismay at times, but at others smiling, egging me on, encouraging me to dream, to speak up, to laugh, to trust, to engage. To discover where he is out in today’s world.
Oh he’s alive alright.