The Ponder Effect | How do we begin to fathom Easter?
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How do we begin
to fathom Easter?

The Lord has risen. He has risen indeed. Halleluiah!

But a lot of bad stuff happened first.

The Easter story is about triumph, but it is also about trial. The Easter Story is about resurrection, but before it had to come death. The Easter story is about salvation, but only as it washes away sin.

I see more dichotomies in the events of Holy Week. Weeping versus shouting. Healing oils versus sour wine. Calls for nonviolence versus acts of torture. Compassion versus cruelty. Forgiveness versus blame. Humility versus power. Loyalty versus betrayal. Self-sacrifice versus self-preservation.

It seems that we can’t have one without the other.

Why mention all that now? Because it’s hard for me to understand Easter without the context of the week that came before it or, more accurately, the full season of Lent that came before it. We can’t go straight to the Resurrection and grasp it. First we have to go into the dark:

Epic betrayal.

Pain deep as nails.

Feeling utterly forsaken.

The price of admission to Easter isn’t suffering, but it sort of is. Only when emptied are we able to be filled. Out of our sharpest anguish comes our most authentic hope. Only then can we believe the glorious mystery and rejoice.

All the drama of Holy Week—all that darkness—it unfolds in our lives in various ways all the time. What comes next is always Easter, when we hearken to it, isn’t it? What is Easter to you? How do you encounter its glorious mystery?

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2 Ponderings
  • Varina Willse

    April 22, 2019 at 10:53 am

    When I try to meet Easter with my brain, I falter. Logic seems to be the enemy of faith. When I meet Easter with my heart, I can begin to fathom it. The resurrection is the embodiment of our heart’s capacity to heal, to hope, to love again despite how badly it has been hurt. We can’t help but rise. Nature can’t help but regenerate. The end is never the end. That is the message of Easter.

  • Anonymous

    April 22, 2019 at 11:00 am

    It’s nice to take time to fathom it. To me, Easter is this wonderful time to spend with family, to dress up in single-use outfits, and to sing hymns. Like any holiday, I get so consumed by the festivities that I forget to pause and reflect. Today the dichotomies that you mention, the ones that bring us to Easter, the sin that led to sacrifice, the sacrifice that gives grace and that grace that gives us ultimate freedom and love. It’s the dichotomy that I see play out on a microlevel each day. We have to go through some pretty awful things to get to the beautiful result. I have to hear criticism and accept it in order to grow. I have to do it wrong over and over again before I improve. In an attempt to comfort a friend, I will say the wrong thing and cause more hurt. BUT, because I have been given newness of life. I have the freedom and the love to make these mistakes and keep going so that I can spread that love on whatever microlevel I can. While my dichotomies are nothing compared to those that Christ faced, I can face them fearlessly because of what he did. So here’s to another week of making mistakes, accepting feedback and getting up and trying again.