It’s Wednesday, the first midweek of Easter season. Frankly, thoughts of Easter have long flown the coop from most U.S. Christians, nothing more than memories now of Easter egg hunts and cellophane covered baskets and perhaps a new dress and shoes. We lay our heads down last night without thinking much of Death’s new status in the world, down a notch now that Jesus took it on and won. Life is back to normal–stressful, expensive normal, and business has crowded the miraculous out for another year, or at least until advent and we get to celebrate with presents again.
What if he hadn’t bothered to rise? Too tired, too much loss of blood, too dead. Let me just lay here and rest for a hundred years, then I’ll get up and take on the world again. These sins of theirs were heavier than I thought they’d be, and I had no idea it would hurt that much. Talk about weary and heavy-laden…
I’m thinking of tombs. There’s something fascinating about the catacombs of Rome. I hope to see them someday. Graveyards, cemeteries, urns on mantlepieces, final places of rest that in the end, won’t be so final, according to scripture. But the tombs I’m thinking of are the ones we live in, the ones we build for ourselves. Quiet places of imaginative dying, where pain is somewhat manageable, and we can bring the world’s din down to a dull roar outside, out there somewhere. Tombs we fill with tributes to ourselves, like Saxon warriors dead fifteen hundred years, our graves filled with stuff we think we’ll need in the hadean realms. Stuff like books and toys and TV’s and canvases of paint with pictures or globs of color. Stuff like foods and ambitions and distractions of every kind. Spring calls to us, as does dawn, as does the stray new idea, as does the morning song bird, and the fresh bread of the early baker. Showers make us clean, telling us “Wake up!” Some new pain jostles us, saying, “Wake up!” Angels roll back stone after stone, and those bright wings of their beat with furious intent: “Wake up! Time to rise. The tomb doesn’t need you anymore.”
Each day a tiny lifetime. Morning is youth, the afternoon middle-age, and the evening’s fatigue speaks of retirement. Sleep is death, and waking is resurrection. All of life each day. Creation, fall, the wilderness, the coming of God, the making of the forgiven community and the coming of the Spirit of Christ. Resurrection pouring out onto the earth like a fountain onto we thirsty, thirsty dying.
We think it’s rules. What a surprise is grace.
Life is an ocean to death’s tiny water glass.
…just getting started…