Especially my own voice. It wasn’t for lack of trying…to do the podcast. I’ve written down some thoughts that I’ll likely vocalize after Easter but I spiraled down into a bit of darkness these last fast days and decided to stay there. Sometimes thin places do that to me, and Holy Week this year was especially one.
But, Barbara Brown Taylor affirmed me. “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.” (From Learning to Walk in the Darkness)
The birds chasing each other around our yard amidst crocuses and tulips feel like a bit of an affront to me this Easter. A little too pretty and too happy, and too awake. Perhaps I’m not ready to move on from the darkness quite yet. And being in the darkness doesn’t necessarily mean I’m asleep, in some ways, it means dealing with being too awake.
I read Micah’s words this morning as the soft hues of pink and orange hit the window next to the couch. I’m chugging coffee trying to shake the sleep out of my eyes. Death out of my head. And somehow these words ring truer for me this morning. This is resurrection.
Silence, and tears crowding tired eyes. Confusion hanging heavy on grief-soaked hearts. Disillusionment colliding with hope. And a long, long walk home.
This is Easter for me.
“We had hoped…”
These sad words catch in my throat and hang with a heaviness of their own. Tears spill as I admit the crushing disappointment that weighs on my shoulders.
We had hoped. That this would be the beginning of something beautiful. That our enslaved hearts would find freedom. That we would be redeemed.
But Jesus has disappeared, and I’m left clutching impossible rumors.
And so this season of Lent, and even this Holy Week I’m clutching all these words, these feelings, these lessons: “I have learned things in the dark that I could never have learned in the light, things that have saved my life over and over again, so that there is really only one logical conclusion. I need darkness as much as I need light.” (BBT)
This is Easter for me today. Once again, not triumphalism or victory but the reminder that we still need that mandate as Sara Miles preached this Good Friday:
…If we are to remember his death and enter his life, we must take up in a new way the familiar human cross of being a son, a mother, a friend. We must turn to and claim each other––neighbors, strangers, enemies–– and refuse to be separated. Alex Nieto’s mother is my mother, and Darren Wilson is my son. Because nobody is outside this family, for whom Jesus was willing to be betrayed into the hands of sinners, and suffer death upon the cross.
He has given us to one another. Let us love one another as he has loved us.
This is the empty tomb. In the face of all the horrific injustices and inequities, and the seemingly constant stream of devastation of humanity, not only in far away places, but right here in our own backyards, it’s that even though the curtain is torn in two and the Holiest of Holies is now for all we’re not done. I need only to invoke the names of Leelah Alcorn. Jessie Hernandez. Renisha McBride. Purvi Patel. Like those women at the tomb these women’s lives and especially their deaths and imprisonments and unlawful convictions proclaim we are not finished. The story is not finished and our work isn’t complete. And I cling to that…barely though…by my fingernails holding on for dear life.
He died and rose again so that we might live, mobilize, question, wrestle, advocate (thank you J. Herbert Nelson), and love in the same way.
May it be so.