He is Risen, Indeed!
I rushed into church one Easter Sunday morning, harried from stuffing chubby sets of toes into leather whites. Clasping hands heartily, people in the pews exchanged greetings by way of, “He is Risen — His is Risen Indeed!” I sheepishly admit it was a little jarring — the way a stoic pilgrim might feel stepping into the cacophony of a backwoods church in the midst of a feverish healing. I was a bit jealous of (and maybe a little embarrassed by) their raw exuberance, and I strained to return a response as authentic.
Flash forward. Years later, on Easter morning, I experience a joy so sweet I want to cheer from the roof-tops. After the somber observations of Holy Week, it’s time to lift our voices. We need to shake off the despair that preceded Jesus’ harrowing death. It grieves me to think of Him enduring such torture and humiliation.
My mother’s heart aches for Mary, at the foot of the cross, weeping for her precious boy. Her courageous, faithful son bore it all with such grace. How many of us respond with such humility in the face of injustice?
It’s why we needed His example — why we needed Him to live among us — which means He also had to die.
But I think the joy I experience now at Easter resonates for many reasons. Maybe it’s because Easter inspires me to think about my own resurrections in Christ. Jesus was restored by our sweet Creator in both body and spirit — and while our life on earth is final, we, too, can experience a new life in Him as often as we are open to it. Knowing Him and experiencing his love and mercy can fuel our own battles to overcome darkness. Don’t we die just a little bit when bitterness, despair, depression, isolation, and rejection seep into our soul?
Several years ago, I thought my marriage was dead. Done. In the midst of my sorrow and shame, it seemed the tomb would be sealed. But instead, mercy and forgiveness and healing breathed new life into the burning embers, and then, a miracle on 44th Court — the Easter of my marriage. And I’m here to say that you can make a choice right here, right now to roll away the stone(s) in your life. It just requires the combination of humility and strength Jesus modeled as he faced his own death. I never said it would be easy, But you can do it.
I share this because as I’ve said many times — the Christian life is far from perfect. We are promised in John 16:33 that, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” What about you? During your darkest hour, did you more often cry out, Father, why hast thou forsaken me (Matthew 27:45-46)? Or instead, did you submit, yet I want your will to be done, not mine?
This Sunday, if you are a believer, grasp the hand nearest to you and absorb the utter joy of Easter. And if you have not been introduced to Him, come and see what the buzz is all about. Look for his healing power to resuscitate what is dead in your own soul. Say it boldly, HE IS RISEN!
And in many ways, so too are we.
• AFN contributor Diane Meehl welcomes questions and commentary at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Facebook and Twitter. She lives in Ahwatukee with her family, and they worship at Mountain View Lutheran Church.