I LOVE Easter. It is absolutely my favorite Holiday because it is centered around unencumbered, unbridled, pure joy. As a person who has battled depression her whole life, I have an incredibly deep appreciation for a day celebrating joy after a long 40 days of sorrow.
We have a gift that Jesus’ contemporaries did not: the gift of hindsight. We know that Jesus has risen. We know that Good Friday was not the end of the story. We know that God fulfilled His promise in true, God-like fashion - unexpectedly, impossibly, and lovingly. In some ways, it’s nice to have the gift of hindsight, but I do think it deprives us of the level of joy felt by Jesus’ contemporaries on that first Easter. We were not with the disciples, hiding in the upper room, wondering what to do now that everything they believed and hoped for was dashed. We were not the Jewish people, bewildered and terrified as they walked by the temple with its torn veil, wondering what it meant for this sacred element to be destroyed.
But if we were…
We would know in our bones the terror and grief of these last three days.
And we would know in the deepest crevices of our spirits the awe, the amazement, and the exuberance of discovering our resurrected Messiah.
Today we celebrate our God who, out of the greatest love that exists, experienced humanity among us and then willingly embodied the sacrificial lamb of the New Covenant. This New Covenant is the promise in which we rest all our faith and hope. It is the promise that we are, and will always be, loved unconditionally by the Divine. Our God died as the sacrifice and rose from the dead as the promise that we, too, are not slaves to sin or victims of eternal death.
May we experience the tender reunion felt by Mary Magdalene when a familiar voice calls us by name (John 20:16).
May we experience the certainty that dispels doubt felt by Thomas when we encounter the risen Lord (John 20:28).
May we experience the fierce reconciliation felt by Peter when our God reminds us of our worth (John 21:15-17).
This is the resurrection.
This is what we celebrate.
This is our God.