Every year I find myself saying things like “After Easter…..I’ll get to that project.” “After Easter….I’ll find time to write those thank you notes.” “After Easter….” You can fill in the blank, because we’ve all said it in one way or another. There are even times in the life of the church when Holy Week and Easter become one more “task” to check off the list in an already too busy schedule.
After the busyness of Lent and Holy Week, and then the final crescendo of Easter morning, we all hope there will be a bit of time to catch our breath and catch up with all those things we’ve set aside in order to attend to this holy (and busy) season. And I pray that will happen for you! Soon.
But I also pray that the coming week will be something more than a series of unending “tasks”. This is the week when we come to the center of our faith. We speak the words all year long in creed and liturgy – Christ has died, Christ has risen, Christ will come again. This week we, one more time, live this ancient story.
All the sin and sorrow and fear of all the world is gathered up in this coming week – refugees fleeing from Syria, African Americans struggling for the respect that ought to be their birth-right, Jews all over the world standing up in the ugly face of anti-semitism, parents mourning their children and children mourning their parents, children going to bed hungry while the rich struggle with overeating. That list of sin and sorrow goes on and on. Our sin. Our sorrow. Our fear. Two thousand years old, and as new as the morning news.
While that’s an important part of the reality of Holy Week, it’s not the only part. Easter morning dawns, and with it comes the reality that God’s promises are true. The buy soma in us alleluias ring out! Hope is stronger than despair. Love is more powerful than fear or hate. God’s word of resurrection is the last word. I think it’s why so many people return to the pew on Easter morning. Resurrection, hope, new life – however you want to name it – it’s real, and we know it. This coming week was a week from hell which ended when God broke the boundary between life and death to show us what real life looks like. Life eternal in spite of the physical reality of death. Life abundant no matter what the scarcity in our life is. Life of belonging even when we live in isolation. Life of hope in the face of despair. Life in the presence of death. Life that cannot be overcome by death.
You and I are blessed to live our lives both “Before Easter” AND “After Easter”. We know this ancient story. We know the ways that it has been lived out over the centuries in the lives of saints and sinners. We know how it has been made manifest in our own lives. Yet we live in a world of busyness and hurry that too often drowns out the glorious truth.
This year “after Easter”, maybe we can all hope for a bit of time to breathe freely – and then something more. Maybe this year when we make our “after Easter” list, we can dream a bit bigger than just finishing a project or sleeping late for a couple of mornings. Maybe this year we can include dreams like new life, new hope, renewed faith, renewed energy for a life of witness to the living Christ. Or justice and peace in places of turmoil and fear. What’s on your “after Easter” list this year? Resurrection? May it be so.
—Katherine Mulhern, Iowa Conference Program Support/Adjunct for 2030 Iowa (Young Clergy Support)