Between Good Friday and Easter

Here is my confession, and you may very well want to label me a heretic after I say this– I don’t care for Easter. Don’t like it.  Sometimes even find it annoying.  I have found it even less joyful and inspiring since my mother died in ’04.  It’s selfish and it’s not very faithful of me, but I’m being honest.  I don’t connect with all of the Easter hype, and sometimes I’d rather just skip it.

 So I’ve been trying to figure out why this is the case (in the spirit of my “wondering” theme).  I think I have nailed down a few reasons why I might not “get” Easter.  First, as Mennonites, I think sometimes we emphasize our Suffering Savior more than our Risen Savior.  In case you are not familiar with Mennonites, we absolutely believe that Christ rose from the dead, in body AND spirit.  We are definitely orthodox Christians!  But we talk a lot about Jesus’ willingness to lay down power, to welcome rejection, suffering and death out of Love for people.  We talk about His humility and servant-heart.  All of this is wonderful and good… but the disciples (and later Paul also) were completely captivated by the Risen Christ.  We believe in the Risen Christ, but I don’t know that we are captivated by His resurrection… captivated by Jesus’ life, teachings and death, captivated by our salvation through His sacrifice, YES, but captivated by the great event of Easter?  I’m not sure.

Secondly, I do think my experience with death has made me somewhat jaded about the celebration of Easter.  I was at my lowest point after Mom’s death when Easter 2005 made its appearance on the calendar. I wanted to throw up during the worship service, with all its pomp and volume and up-beat hymns and praise songs. It felt staged and coreographed, perfected in every detail, forced.  My thoughts went something like this: “So the disciples got their miracle!  Mary and Martha and Lazarus got their miracle, for the second time!  That’s great. Where was our miracle?  I believe in God’s power to conquer death… I’ve just never seen it.”  I know that Christ’s resurrection should have brought me enormous hope and comfort in my moments of grief, because it is a testimony to the fact that we will all be raised… all of us, including my mom.  But for some reason, that Easter Sunday brought me no comfort or joy at all.  It only deepend my questioning and added to my pain, made me feel like our family was somehow less loved or less precious to God than those early disciples.  Grief is a very self-centered process, and in my grief, I felt invisible to God.  As time has gone by, I feel less invisible, but I still don’t grasp the full meaning of Easter.

I wish I connected more with Easter joy, with the awesome hope and power of the resurrection of my Lord.  I feel very connected to His sacrifice on the cross for all humanity, for me; I can mourn deeply at His grave… but I can’t put myself into the Easter story. I feel so removed from the deep meaning of the empty tomb and Christ’s early appearances to his disciples.  I wish I understood the impact of that event.  I wish my spirit could overflow with the joy of it all.

God has conquered death! Christ IS our living Savior! He rose and then ascended to the Father, to send us the Holy Spirit! I pray that someday the Risen Christ will rise within me once again, in power and wisdom and hope and great joy.  Until then, I will wait, caught somewhere between Friday and Sunday.

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5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Jennifer Hershberger
    Mar 22, 2008 @ 00:11:55

    I hear every word… and feel it. Well said.
    ~Jenn

    Reply

  2. Aunt Pam
    Mar 22, 2008 @ 00:24:22

    Ah, yes! Where are our miracles? I sometimes beat on heaven’s doors as Amanda gets older and her body twists and tightens a little more and her care becomes more difficult. Yet, I have to hang onto the hope (even if I don’t always feel the joy) of Easter morning. For it is only that resurrection power that brings me hope for Amanda’s future. Without it this earthly life for children like Amanda is truly a waste. It brings a measure of comfort, as I minister to her in the middle of the night,to know that wholeness awaits her on the other side of the grave!

    Reply

  3. Mike
    Mar 24, 2008 @ 13:56:14

    The part that always gets me is that the suffering and death of Jesus mean so little without the resurrection. If there’s no resurrection, the power of sin and death are not conquered–Jesus is not Lord but just another martyr. It is the resurrection that remakes the world: the torn veil on Friday may well be important, but the stone rolled away on Sunday, and the folded shroud screaming “I’m done with this–and so are you and so are the world–death, true death, spiritual death, is conquered forever!” Those are the things about Easter that I love.

    The suffering means so little without the resurrection. The suffering we go through is bound up with the promise of our resurrection. The resurrection is the fulfillment of suffering, it is what brings meaning to faith, hope, and love. The serving Christ teaches us; the risen Christ gives us hope.

    And, given my Lutheran tradition, I proclaim that hope: “Christ is risen! He is risen, indeed!”

    Reply

  4. Jamie
    Mar 24, 2008 @ 16:12:56

    Well said!

    I’ve found myself embracing the views of the early Gnostic Christians, who focused much more on the wonder of our existence, and our connection with the divine, than to become obsessed with Christ’s suffering. I’ve never been one for the Easter holiday, and being raised Baptist (and spending a bunch of time in the Mennonite church!), I’ve never been one for crucifixes (I found the reaction of the alien to the crucifix in “Stranger in a Strange Land” was an apt one.

    The Risen Christ is who we SHOULD celebrate — we should celebrate our faith, not mourn it (“Dogma”). I think you are pointing out in this blog entry the questions of many of the faithful in these trying times.

    What is our miracle? Our ability to connect, our ability to change our world, and our ability to embrace those that others can not.

    Just a few cents from the world of knee pain,

    Jamie

    Reply

  5. Robert Martin
    Apr 03, 2008 @ 08:36:44

    Hey, Kris Ann!

    Okay… this one resonated because I gave our churches sermon for Easter Sunday and the focus of my sermon was not the suffering saviour but the victorious, risen Lord and how we as Christians should, in everything we do and say, reflect an attitude of celebration.

    We’ve gone through and are going through rough times. But due to the fact that Christ raised HIMSELF from the dead gives us hope that ANYTHING we go through is only temporary and that there WILL be victory over the pain of this world. That, of itself, is reason to celebrate and, even in the midst of our deepest pain, we can cry out “He is Risen indeed!” and celebrate it.

    We need more emphasis on the celebration of Easter, I believe, and we need to carry that celebration with us all year round, not just one Sunday morning in early spring.

    Reply

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