We’ve entered the season of Easter in the Christian church. We’ve moved from the mia culpa of Good Friday, through the empty tomb of Holy Saturday, and, for the next fifty days, we are invited to savor the victory of unconditional love completed on Easter Sunday.
We might be tempted to view the Easter season as a mere remembrance of Jesus’ death—something that happened “back then” but isn’t happening now. But the resurrection is much more than a historical event. It’s an ongoing incarnation of God’s love in and through each of us.
Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection demonstrate we are continuously transformed by Divine Love. Through the reoccurring cycle of death and resurrection, we move through a pattern of order, disorder, and reorder. Day-by-day, bit-by-bit, we come out of our empty tombs into the glory of human wholeness.
Something must have happened in that tomb on Holy Saturday. As the Father and Spirit entered the cave, knelt and wept beside the cold slab of stone upon which Jesus’ beaten body lay, they experienced the brutal death of their Beloved Son.
And rather than endless mourning, the Trinity then unwrapped the bloody burial cloth, lifted Jesus’ lifeless body to their chests, held his broken flesh next to their hearts, and proclaimed, “We will bring him home. We will lift him up. And we will place his Spirit of love into every human heart so that they too may rise with him.”
The fifty-day stretch from Easter to Pentecost is designed as a time to connect with the power of resurrection, to pause and reflect on simple questions such as:
How have I changed—been resurrected?
Since last Easter, what’s different about me?
How have I come out of my empty tomb? How have I Risen?
Jesus’ life unfolds in an intimate way through the eyes of those closest to him in the History channel’s drama-documentary presentation of Jesus—His Life. As my wife and I watched the series, I was struck by the realization that Jesus didn’t know who he was in his early life. As he grew into adulthood, he slowly evolved as his mission unfolded. He came face-to-face with his spiritual self and ultimately accepted the role of Messiah, Master Builder for which he was created.
When his mother asked him to change water into wine at the wedding feast, Jesus told her his time had not yet come. He was uncertain if he could perform miracles—unclear if he was the Son of God.
As he stretched out of his comfort zone, he invoked Divine power and grace to transform ordinary water into extraordinary wine, foreshadowing the many other miracles he was to perform. He began to realize who he was.
Jesus didn’t play victim. In the balance between human pride and divine humility, God graced his son with the courage to embrace his human and divine natures so that at the end of his earthly life he proclaimed he was and is the Son of God, the Son of Man. From that place of self-knowledge, self-discovery, Jesus came into the fullness of himself in God, and moved from bloody death to glorious resurrection.
As I ponder Jesus’ life, I wonder, How have I Risen? How have I grown in the past year?
In meditation, I realize God invites me to let go of my poor me, life’s tough, and I’m a victim attitudes and rise into the truth of who I am—God’s Beloved.
It takes courage and grace to accept God’s unconditional love and step into who and what God says I am. My overthinking brain can’t wrap itself around this reality. It’s much easier for me to rub my nose into I’m-a-sinner and I-mess-up-a-lot as my lips kiss the cross on Good Friday.
But resurrection power is not about guilt and shame. Resurrection is about God’s unconditional love and how we—as we allow the power of Divine Love to embrace us—are transformed. We step into who we are—God’s Beloved.
That is on-going resurrection—allowing God’s grace to hold us in the balance of human pride and divine humility to receive the courage to step into who we are.
We are not the Messiah. We are also not victims. We are human beings with unique personalities who God placed on this earth to be sacred vessels to create more love in the world.
This Easter season, I pray God will continue to teach me who I am. I ask for grace to silence the unholy voices that try to rub my nose into who I am not.
Resurrection is something I cannot do on my own. My head can’t make logical sense out of it. But, as I open my heart and allow God to reveal Divine love to and through me, I am changed, transformed. I am able to proclaim, I believe. My heart understands. And my feet are catching up.
This Easter season, consider pondering the question, How have I Risen?
As you do, know that through God’s resurrection power, the Creator continually makes all things new.
—brian j plachta