There is something more and more elusive about these Holidays as time goes by. I'm sure that's a humorous statement. Truly though -- even as the steps towards Easter become more clear and predictable, the final burst of light can't be contained, the experience is fading almost before it is consciously registered. Warm, golden days like today, appearing almost magically from behind the parting curtains of Good Friday's blustery gloom, add to the effect.
The long wait for sure signs of Spring echoes the feeling around church and worklife this time last year -- the nerves thinned beyond taut to numbness, the banal side by side with the ludicrous. But last year's spring weather was generous, hot even -- we were watching and waiting for a different set of signs. Real estate deals hinged upon financing schemes, hinged upon capacity to formulate and justify ourselves in a shell-shocked lending climate. Triangulation over triangulation, relationships in every corner taking on the tone of power-struggle and gamesmanship. And in the midst of all that, Lent, then Holy Week, then our last Easter on the old home turf before breaking camp and once again hauling our tents to the next meetin' place.
This year, our first Easter at Grace Center, was of course some measure of our reward for all that waiting -- which may be why I felt, not let down, but ambivalent, after worship today. Staff duties have doubled and tripled, we've taken a pay cut, and Holy Week means three bulletins for worship, three sets of liturgical considerations, three significant sets of goals, three sermons... leading into the most important day of the church year, and all of that layered upon more than enough other work to distract us from the chilly overcast skies and the general lack of sleep. Plus school breaks, family logistics, emotional challenges and blah blah blah. What, you mean life doesn't stop for the Resurrection?? Ha ha.
The Resurrection is, as Sara Miles has said, something that can be perceived only fleetingly out of the corner of one's mind before the gates of rationality slam down and blot out the sight. And that's on a good day! CHRIST IS RISEN! We say it again and again during the service, during the Gathering and the Word and the Sending. Christ is risen! He is risen indeed. Alleluia! Because we have to say it over and over to ourselves, to keep the miracle firmly framed. Monks pray continuously in their yearning for Christ. I want to splash the water from the font over my face and hair -- want to bite into a large, fragrant chunk of the Body, the bread -- want to wash it down with a bracing shot of the Blood, the wine, the salvation. Give it to me first thing in the morning, before I'm even fully awake, and perhaps then the Spirit will find me open and eager instead of distracted and fragmented and cross. I wanted Easter to really sink in. But I'm not the ready, fertile soil I'd like to be; I didn't prepare. So we wait. The church has two seasons, Easter, and Easter's coming.
Show me the nail holes in your hands, and your feet, and let me push my fingers into the wound in your side -- then I will believe.