Easter in a time of plague. It’s a strange time. The light and elation of Easter juxtaposed with the darkness and sobriety of this current crisis.
Author, Barbara Brown Taylor writes in Learning to Walk in the Dark, “As many years as I have been listening to Easter sermons, I have never heard anyone talk about that part. Resurrection is always announced with Easter lilies, the sound of trumpets, bright streaming light. But it did not happen that way. If it happened in a cave, it happened in complete silence, in absolute darkness, with the smell of damp stone and dug earth in the air. Sitting deep in the heart of Organ Cave, I let this sink in: new life starts in the dark. Whether it is a seed in the ground, a baby in the womb, or Jesus in the tomb, it starts in the dark.”
There is a quiet comfort in that statement. Easter “starts in the dark.”
As the old hymn goes:
“Low in the grave He lay—
Jesus, my Savior!
Waiting the coming day—
Jesus, my Lord!”
And this is where we are, “waiting the coming day!”
Waiting for the end of the pandemic, of fear, of uncertainty, of death by this disease, of the pain of loss.
We long for time with family and friends, for the return to normalcy. For more people to be vaccinated. For no more “lockdowns, shutdowns, or stay-at-home orders.” No more Variants of Concern. To be able to travel freely. We wait for parties, a birthday maybe, – to celebrate the turn of a decade with friends and family. To be able to worship together in larger groups. To not have to worry about possible exposures to COVID.
When the pandemic first began, I would get a sore throat after I came home from the grocery store, wondering – have I been exposed? Fear, lurking. And yet, here I am over a year in, and still, thankfully, fine.
So, we continue to wait.
Yet, from the darkness of tomb – Easter reminds us that death doesn’t get to have the final say.
What we need today is a resurrection of Hope.
And Hope – His name is Jesus.
He conquered death and the grave.
That old hymn continues:
“Up from the grave He arose, With a mighty triumph o’er His foes, He arose a Victor from the dark domain, And He lives forever with His saints to reign. He arose! He arose! Hallelujah! Christ arose!”Robert Lowry
He, the Victor over the dark domain.
Hope – He is our Sovereign Lord.
He, the Alpha and the Omega.
Aslan is on the move
He is the One who will, one day, make all things right.
I love this quote from “The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe” by C. S. Lewis –
“They say Aslan is on the move- perhaps has already landed.”
And now a very curious thing happened. None of the children knew who Aslan was any more than you do; but the moment the Beaver had spoken these words everyone felt quite different. Perhaps it has sometimes happened to you in a dream that someone says something which you don’t understand but in the dream it feels as if it has some enormous meaning- either a terrifying one which turns the whole dream into a nightmare or else a lovely meaning too lovely to put into words, which makes the dream so beautiful that you remember it all your life and are always wishing you could get into that dream again. It was like that now. At the name of Aslan each one of the children felt something jump in its inside. Edmund felt a sensation of mysterious horror. Peter felt suddenly brave and adventurous. Susan felt as if some delicious smell or some delightful strain of music had just floated by her. And Lucy got the feeling you have when you wake up in the morning and realize that it is the beginning of the holidays or the beginning of summer.”
I think this captures the essence of Easter.
The hope Easter brings causes something inside us to jump, to come alive. Is it the awareness that we have missed something vital? Or do we find the bravery hidden in us, or hear the music? Or wake up to the possibility though all may be dark now, the morning will come again!
Wrong will be right
C. S. Lewis, (again from The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe) brings us the words for this long winter we are living through. The knowledge that Easter proclaims to us – this sure and certain Hope –
“Wrong will be right, when Aslan comes in sight,
At the sound of his roar, sorrows will be no more,
When he bares his teeth, winter meets its death,
And when he shakes his mane, we shall have spring again.”
So, let’s allow hope to resurrect in our hearts again as we declare with the Psalmist –