To Live in Easter


Among the things this crisis has laid bare this Easter season it is this truth: there are very few certainties in this life. - Abby Norman

We celebrated Easter each in our own homes almost a month ago. Still, according to the church calendar it is Easter. There are years where I revel in the length of Eastertide. I walk through the 50 days expecting resurrection at every turn. What miracle will I experience now?

This year has not been a year of beautiful surprises. The more we go through Easter, the more we don’t know. 

When will we be allowed to gather again? We don’t know. Churches are hot spots for a lot of reasons. Will we be able to share the same loaf of bread? We don’t know. Will we be allowed to pass the peace? We don’t know. Will we be able to sing the songs we love? Listen to the choir? We just don’t know. 

Church isn’t the only place facing mostly uncertainty. Local businesses are unclear about when they can open up again, every parent I know is waiting with baited breath on the possibility of kids going back to school in the fall. We have hopes, we have projections, we have worse case scenarios but the truth is, we just don’t know. 

Among the things this crisis has laid bare this Easter season, is this truth: there are very few certainties in this life. We rarely know what will actually come next, even if we think we do. I have been thinking about that constant uncertainty a lot this Easter season. 

As I have been reading about the very strange days of the first 50 days after Christ’s resurrection, I can’t help but feel how raw everything was. While there are academic tomes written about the meaning of the resurrection now, the days after the great miracle of our faith were met mostly with confusion. They knew their Savior lived, but he wasn’t there like he used to be. They knew their Savior had risen, but even when he showed up they couldn’t touch him. Jesus was alive and was eventually coming back, but what did that mean? They didn’t know. 

Every time Jesus shows up post-resurrection, the people he is with were sad and confused. They were attempting to go back to the daily grind, but they carried with them the grief that things were not as they once were. Things were not how they had hoped. Jesus was alive, yes, but it wasn’t the military triumph they were sure would change the world. Instead it was something absolutely no one saw coming, and they didn’t know how to do that. They didn’t know how to play the cards they had. They had never lived in a world like this before. 

The disciples didn’t handle the ambiguity of a risen savior very well. They didn’t suck it up buttercup; they were total disasters. Peter, in fact, was so distraught, he was in the fishing boat naked, unable to even put on clothes for the trip.

As someone who has been unable to change out of her stretchy pants for the last four days, I understand where Peter is coming from. Pants are hard when the whole world is confusing. 

I think in the days before Corona Virus, I thought certainty of direction was a part of the Christian faith. I thought Good Christians were confident and sure. There are times when I have used “faith” to mean certainty. I have used “believe” to mean “will into existence.”

I have used “assured” to mean “sure to get the thing I was expecting.” I am watching each of these definitions crumble into dust. None of those things make any sense when we don’t know. In the before time, I just didn’t know that I didn’t know. I didn’t know that in the face of global adversity, I would be more scared than I could imagine. I didn’t know that I could go on so shaky into nothing but questions. 

I am taking a strange comfort in the behavior of the disciples. I am grateful for the grace that Jesus offers them when he does show up. He eats with them, he feeds them, he tells them not to be afraid. He doesn’t ask them to do anything drastic or shun them for not acting normal. He simply meets their needs. He lets them take one day at a time. 

The earliest Christians were also making it up as they went along. They were doing the best they could with the information they had, even when that information was not what they had anticipated. They didn’t have to know the immediate future. They knew their Redeemer lived.

And even when it didn’t feel like enough, it was. I am learning to let Jesus feed me, to comfort me.  I am learning to live in Easter.