Sunday, April 24, 2011

Christ is Risen!


The tomb is empty.

The victory won.

Jesus is alive!!

There is no doubting that. But perhaps, in The Wasteland, T.S. Eliot was on to something. The first stanza is subtitled "The Burial of the Dead." Here are the opening lines:

APRIL is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.
Winter kept us warm, covering 5
Earth in forgetful snow, feeding
A little life with dried tubers.
Summer surprised us, coming over the Starnbergersee
With a shower of rain; we stopped in the colonnade,
And went on in sunlight, into the Hofgarten, 10
And drank coffee, and talked for an hour.
Bin gar keine Russin, stamm' aus Litauen, echt deutsch.
And when we were children, staying at the archduke's,
My cousin's, he took me out on a sled,
And I was frightened. He said, Marie, 15
Marie, hold on tight. And down we went.
In the mountains, there you feel free.
I read, much of the night, and go south in the winter.

In the same way that April is the cruelest the month for those who feel no part of it, perhaps Easter is the most difficult holiday for Believers who grieve.

We hear a lot about Christmas being difficult for those who have suffered a loss. And with the constant family gatherings emphasizing the abscence of a loved, it is. But Easter, for the Christian, is meant to be a time of unalloyed Joy. We are celebrating the final victory over death.... but for some it doesn't yet feel like a victory. The grief is too new, too raw.

Still, whatever it feels like for anyone just now, that victory is real. Jesus was dead. He is alive. Those who believe in him live forever in His kingdom, from the moment they believe through all eternity. That can bring us a measure of comfort. More than a measure.

So is it OK for the grieving to join in fully with the celebrations of Easter? I say, yes, because we are celebrating a true thing that nothing can change. But it's also fine not to feel up to it. God knows our hearts, understands pain and loss. After all, He's been there.

May your Easter be blessed and may you find true Joy.

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