I’m always wondering about the Holy Week thing, the pinnacle of the Christian Tradition, I suppose.
Secretly, Easter is one of my least favorite services in the church. It’s just a bit too showy, too loud, too in-your-face for me. A lot like a pep rally, which kind of implies a victor, which means someone was defeated? I know in my head that the loser is supposed be sin or death or evil or something dark, but for some reason it also feels like all of the other faith traditions are losers as well. I think the pomp and circumstance of Easter can cause me to feel a little uneasy, maybe a little “us” vs. “them.”
I thought maybe it was my own depression and anorexia that drew me to Lent, that dark time when it seems appropriate to be sad and sacrificial, but after a couple of years on the mental health bandwagon, I’m beginning to understand that it is who I am spiritually, intellectually and emotionally that draws me to the more somber experiences of Christ’s story. Or maybe it’s those stories that seem most remarkable to me.
Honestly, His resurrection is probably the least important thing that draws me to Him.
I mean, come on, the whole rolling the stone away, some angel/gardener telling them the tomb is empty (cue in “Low in the Grave he lays”) I think my stomach still hurts when I remember Mr. Story, an old man from my childhood church with a huge bass voice bellowing . . “Up from the grave he arose!” And the pipe organ matched him note for note letting open every stop and pedal. All that was needed was fire works on the river with a radio announcer screeching “And this one belongs to the Reds – I mean, Jesus!”
I personally feel that Jesus, being into fishermen and spending time in the woods when he needed to regroup, just wouldn’t be that flashy if left to his own devices.
What touches me most in the Easter story is Jesus’ own longing and need for companionship during this difficult time in his life. It gives me greater confidence in my own calling out for others to walk with me, stay with me, sit with me when my own worries start to haunt me. If Jesus asked for his peeps to watch with him, then maybe the need to just “be with someone” is what God has created in us. Maybe?
I like to think I’m big and bad and everything I need I can muster up for myself – but that’s just misguided thinking from being a descendant of Kentucky Appalachians, whose pride, not sin, often keeps them (us) from reaching the truly good stuff in life.
Back to Jesus.
The love story for me is the women who stay near the cross during Jesus’ crucifixion. They cared for him during his life and now they will stay in his despair. They come to the tomb that morning to prepare his body in keeping with their tradition, not to see if he had risen. Maybe, the risen part wasn’t even necessary for them. Jesus had already given them forgiveness and value. He had loved them to the point of really changing who they were; something even more spectacular than coming back from the dead, as far as I’m concerned.
The intellectual part of me knows that the whole hoopla of the Risen Savior is the very foundation of the entire Christian movement (and the little girl part of me knows that my Momaw is rolling in her grave since I just referred to the resurrection as “hoopla”), but I like to think that even if those women had found his body that morning, if they had spent time in touching and cleaning and preparing his body that as they were working, they would have talked of his teaching, his grace, his transforming love, and I just don’t think they would have saved all of that for themselves.
I think Christianity may have taken a little longer to catch-on and our Easter services might be a little more sedate, but I have to think that life-changing love would have found its way. Love always does. For me, that’s the real miracle.