It happened about midday on Monday, as I sat at my desk. It happens every year, in every way, but this year it hit me hard; perhaps I was snappish in my reply, I don’t know. This “it” is something we’ve likely all said or thought over the years. The gentleman sitting before me, a very “churched” person said, “I bet you’re glad that Easter is OVER!”
The snappish bit? When I looked up and (was I roaring like a lion?) and said, “Easter has just begun! Easter is 50 days! Easter is not over, it never is!” (H/t Bosco Peters.)
Keeping Easter is important to me, but there is no need to snap about it, is there? Not if I am to take my own reflection to heart!
Early on Tuesday morning I was in my usual spot for prayer and reflection, feeling a little anxious for various reasons. Then I read a reflection in Give Us This Day, written long ago by Caryll Houselander. While her words were familiar to me, today they rang out in a very particular way, deep in my heart. The words felt like a monastery bell that was calling me to attention. Houselander wrote about about how love was the driving force, reminding me that Jesus’ says to Mary Magadalene (Tuesday’s Gospel), “Woman, why are you weeping?” Houselander added that Jesus spoke to the apostles by saying “peace” when they first encountered the Risen Lord, and to Thomas, “believe.” Her point was that we are not greeted with words of recrimination, but rather with love. How many times have I heard this? And when will I ever fully integrate those words into my life?
It is customary to “bury” the dead, so I wondered to myself, why not bury the fear, the guilt, the self-focused and indulgent loathing now that Christ has risen? Christ has smashed death and brings new life. This is not simply something for us to hope to attain “later,” but rather something to actively engage in with that same Christ, right now.The only way to do this – and none of what I say is new, it is just where I’m at today – is to live fully in the glory of the resurrection. And that glory of resurrection is Christ! In his rising it is love that is resurrected. Not the feeling or emotion kind of love, but the love that is action, movement, the force of life. May that life be resurrected for each of us in this present moment.
Lastly – live in ways that keep Easter. Currently we are in what is known as the Octave of Easter, the eight days that follow Easter Sunday. The liturgical season of Easter extends to that important day of the Spirit, Pentecost. Easter cannot be reduced to cute decorations of eggs and bunnies that are now put away until next year. We can keep Easter by bringing the resurrected Christ everywhere. This is pretty important 365 days a year, but right now the glow of Easter is as strong as the summertime midday sun, so let us bask in it and warm others with its light.
My prayer for all of us is that each of us buries a bit of fear, resurrects love, and keeps Easter. That image brings me back to the night of Easter Vigil. A church in seemingly utter darkness is slowly, but very surely illuminated when each of us passes one small flame of the light of the Risen Christ to another.
It is in that way that Easter has begun.
Please note: I can’t tell you how much I love to write this blog, but believe me – I love writing this blog. When people tell me that blogging is dead, I can only think of life.
With that in mind, I am going to be on a bit of a blog break this Easter season. A project has come up that requires my full attention. For good or ill, most of my blogging is done on a day to day basis, written in haste. This is not really good if you ask me. Whether or not it is good, the reality is that in the wee morning hours when I am hunched over my keyboard writing posts such as these, my other project is not getting done.
Some posts will pop up now and then, and I do hope to have an update on my Camino Santiago plans soon. Please keep me in your prayers that I might focus my energy where God is calling it to go at this time. Talk about needing to bury fear, I am in equal measure thrilled and terrified by the work before me. Please pray that I can forge ahead in confidence and hope.
May everyone who reads these pages be blessed immeasurably. There are no words to express the gratitude that people actually read this blog and respond to it. I am ever humbled. Be assured of my prayers for you. Thank you again and again – and I will see you all soon.