For most of my life, Easter has been a one-day event, a whoop and holler of Kingdom-come and coming, a Sunday morning celebration of my Savior-friend.
But this is all supposed to be a longer experience, a tangible moment-by-moment revelation of the last days of Jesus, of His out-of-the-tomb rebirth.
Now that we’re in Atlanta, we’re at a church that acknowledges certain aspects of Holy Week that I’ve not often been able to appreciate in community.
On Maundy Thursday, I had a really sweet coffee date with the pastor of my church, a woman who breathes out community with the very breath from her lungs, and calls me friend because she knows that it keeps us all together.
That morning, Eliot asked me what Maundy Thursday was for, and I Wikipedia’d it (sorry, I know). And we stared at a picture of Jesus with the disciples at the table. And we saw a trickle of water on the floor, spilled next to someone’s foot, and the bowl and the jug of water.
I told him they were eating together, but Eliot wanted to know more about the foot washing.
“Did they do it in the bathtub? Why didn’t they just take a bath?”
Just as it was in that room, the tangible, see-for-yourself servanthood of people loving people is what Eliot wanted to see.
On Thursday, that’s what I needed– someone to wash my feet, to look in my eyes, to tell me that I see and hear and know God, that He sees and hears and knows me.
And on Good Friday, we sat in quiet, we watched the candles burn out one by one, heard the words of Jesus’ final days.
And in that silence, I couldn’t say anything.
What do you say to someone you’re so absolutely indebted to, so absolutely loved by?
I just sat in my pew and listened, my limbs heavy. I cried big alligator tears, partly because I was so broken by Him, and because I couldn’t find any other way to let out my gratitude.
And today in the early morning light, I sat Eliot on my lap and we read pieces of Isaiah 53, about how Jesus just took everything– our joy, our sadness, our hurt, our anger– and piled it all on Himself, let it seep into His blood, let it cover the wooden cross that held Him fast.
And tomorrow, we’ll rise and see the sun and acknowledge the kind glory of all of our futures.
He was risen then, He is risen now, and tomorrow and the next tomorrow until He calls something new out of us.
I need the process of Lent, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, the quiet of Saturday, Easter morning, to show me who I am. I need that progression to give me a little insight into who Jesus really is, who He was as holy man, bashed and broken, buried and revived again.
The bright, full moon shone down across the purple garment draped on the cross outside our church building, and I felt Jesus breathe on us.
I felt all over again His invitation to us, to the meal, His kind heart toward us, the gracious reminder that He is indeed the Messiah, that His hope covers all our hopelessness.
I wonder what Jesus’ first thought was, when His Father sent a rush of spirit and breath into His quieted body inside that dark cave.
I think maybe it was all love, all thoughts of me and of you, the overwhelming abundance of His saving and forever reigning grace, the fulfillment of all He has ever been in the fullness of the trinity.
Hallelujah, He is risen!