My thoughts wander back to last year’s Easter. Hard and Holy, it felt like a mad grab for hope that Easter morning as I watched the Sunday service from my couch, clutching tight to the sight of an empty tomb. I always crave struggle during holy week, a longing to suffer with my God, and last year provided in full measure.
This year the ache of remembering His steps, His moments, His struggle, well it takes a little more intention because hope is calling hard.
The earth is thawing and we are coming out of the dark, ready to breathe deep again. Fear is falling, sloughing off like a skin we’ve outgrown. We’re ready to live.
Live. We want life. And isn’t that just what He gives us through this hard and holy week? A bold and daring chance at life, just crazy enough to be the God’s honest truth. And after a year like this, after a year of clinging to life while death broke so many hearts, I don’t want just a Sunday morning faith. I want the Bridegroom.
We live lives devoid of joy when we forget the One who is our joy. The One who suffered through Friday, the One who fought Hell through Saturday, the One who gave Himself back to us on Sunday morning with our debts paid free and clear.
Christianity isn’t a halfway faith, the only way is through the Way Himself- and it isn’t the easy way. When He calls out Rise and follow Me, take up your cross and bear it- well it’s because you can’t have Christianity without the Cross. In the paradoxical gospel of Christ where beggars are kings and the last are first, suffering is salvific and losing your life means gaining access to His. We’re called to unite with Him in His suffering and Ressurection and the Bridegroom wants nothing less than His Bride.
Practicing Christians have to practice their faith and the half-life of complacency is half a life. I want what breaks His heart to break mine too. I want to go where He goes and love as He loves. I want to follow Him and I want to know the sound of His voice.
And the truth is, I am every apostle. The ones who didn’t remember what He said, the ones who turned away, who denied the truth to save face,- all the ones who couldn’t stay awake, and the ones who couldn’t even believe their own eyes when they saw Glory standing before them.
Following Christ means crucifixion, it’s the only way to ressurection.
The Greek word for resurrection is anástasis and the literal translation is “stand up.” The physical act of raising a dead body to a standing-up body. Ressurection isn’t a passive activity, it’s not something that just happens to you- it’s movement and it holds all the urgency and command of stand.
Stand up, oh my soul.
This year, more than any other year, we get life this Easter. So what are we going to do with it?
What are we going to do with life? This gift of still being alive, still breathing air into our lungs breath by breath, each gasp a gift from the Giver of all good things. What are we going to do with our life?
Because of the Gospel, life isn’t a death sentence anymore, it’s a life sentence. Life becomes the end of the last sentence in the story of our lives. We’re all heading towards an empty tomb and the only way to live, to really live, is to do as He did. Love as He loved, forgive as He forgave, make the suffering of others our business, love God with the heart, soul, and mind.