As young parents at our church, EA and I are in a rotation for watching the children in the nursery during worship service every few months or so. When our last turn was about to come up, we realized that we would be out of town that Sunday. Fortunately, some friends in our Sunday School class switched with us. Problem solved.
The switch was this Sunday. Easter Sunday. The Sunday that the Whole Entire Faith Pivots On Sunday. So instead of singing “Christ the Lord is Risen Today” and proclaiming with our church that Christ was risen indeed, we were downstairs.
Here’s the thing: Caring for the kids in the nursery was wonderful. Our youngest son Liam is in there as were a couple of adorable toddlers. People need to serve there and I am glad that we were able to help out. And my Easter was good on the whole. I got to spend time with family and eat some great food.
Yet spiritually it did not feel much like Easter. This is when we emerge from the fasting of Lent, the agonizing loss of the crucifixion. This is when we celebrate God conquering evil, Jesus saving us, and death itself starting to work backwards. The Good News of Resurrection Sunday is something that I want to feel deep down in my bones. But I did not feel much of anything and I have my doubts whether it would have been different if we weren’t downstairs.
So what do you do when Resurrection Sunday comes and goes yet you feel like it has completely passed you by? What happens when this day happens that means so much to your faith and you just feel blah? Do you panic? Does this mean you’re ungrateful? A cynic? A wounded soul? A stubborn jackass? These are the thoughts that swim around in my head.
Then I remember the disciples and how they did not immediately believe or celebrate on this day. Not all of them. Not Thomas. And I wonder how many times the resurrected Jesus had to appear to them before it really sank in for the others. Was it the first time? The second time? As he ascended? When they took the bread and the cup years later? They believed, but I doubt they always felt it deep in their bones. I could be wrong. I might just be consoling myself.
Yet I think there are a lot of people that pass through Easter and feel like they’ve missed out on something because they are not doing cartwheels in celebration. We just don’t feel it. Or we struggle through doubt. Or we can’t muster the hype that we put on this one day. If you’re like me, you might feel like you whiffed on a rare opportunity. The good news is this Sunday was not the end.
The ramifications of the Resurrection travel through time: past Easter Sunday, past the Gospels, past the early church. Its message and hope still echo today; not just on one Sunday a year but every Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday of every week of every year. A blah Easter does not roll the stone back in front of the empty tomb. It does not stop the Resurrection from being any more true tomorrow or the next day.
Resurrection Sunday is a beautiful day; my favorite Sunday of the year, in fact. Yet I hope that I don’t contain that story, its beauty, and its hope to a single day. As I limp through not feeling Easter this year, whatever that means, I write this to remind myself (and maybe you) that what we proclaim on Easter Sunday is what we proclaim each day:
Christ is risen. Christ is risen indeed.