Easter Thoughts

Easter is always celebrated as a time of joy.  The Easter Bunny set hides eggs, people dress in bright clothes, and buy enough chocolate to support a small nation.  The churchy set dress in bright clothes, go to church, sing happy songs, and are generally happy that Lent is over.  Church on Easter Sunday is a happy joyous place.

So on the way to church this morning I was naturally a bit sad.

I even said something like that out-loud to Heather.  Well, not exactly sad, but more wondering if the followers of Jesus had an Easter Egg hunt or were exploding with joy after receiving the joy of an empty tomb.  I was thinking about the experience the disciples were really having on that day before we modern people layered symbols and other meanings on those events.

As we sat waiting for traffic lights to change Heather and I discussed this.  I had on my mind the Bible passage I was asked to read during service, John 20:11-18 which starts, “Mary stood outside near the tomb, crying.”

The passage isn’t exactly bursting with joy.

I don’t know about you, but my emotions as a disciple on that Sunday morning would be far more complex.  Think about all that happened in the week leading up to this day.  First a triumphal march into the city, then an arrest, an execution, the fear …

The disciples on Easter morning were likely feeling a mixture of grief, guilt and fear.  Grief that their teacher was dead.  Guilt that they had abandoned him in his last moment  of need, and fear that they were next to hang on a cross.  Their three-year journey suddenly ended with the future being a dark and fearful place.

There must have been a lot of questions and some anger – What was all our work for?  Is this to end this way?  But I suspect the biggest question was, “What now?”

Where do we go? What do we do? How will I live with the shame of what I did?

Then Mary arrives from the tomb and turns your world upside down.  He’s alive.  He spoke to me.  He told me to tell you…

Think about how your life can be overturned by the death of a loved one.  Everything changes.  Things you used to do are now different.  When your parent dies you realize you’re on your own and have to make your own way in the world.  Suddenly younger family look to you and you wonder if you have the wisdom or strength.

If I were a disciple listening to Mary Magdalene, I’d be in a confused state.  It’s not over? There’s more?  How is this possible? How will I be able to go on and teach as he did?  Will I run away to hide or continue on the path Jesus showed?

The situation is a cause for change.  There is a pre-Easter and a post-Easter world.  The followers of Jesus would have faced that reality.  It makes me wonder if we in our world today are holding Easter in the best way.  Perhaps Easter should be less about joy and more about how our lives are changed by the events of that day so long ago. 

Still, nothing wrong with a couple of chocolate eggs and the choir singing a rousing Hallelujah Chorus before we consider the changes in our lives.

Peace,

Andrew

About Andrew Reynolds

Born in California Did the school thing studying electronics, computers, release engineering and literary criticism. I work in the high tech world doing software release engineering Then I got prostate cancer Now I am a blogger and work in my wood shop doing scroll saw work and marquetry.
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19 Responses to Easter Thoughts

  1. huckfinn47 says:

    This is so thoughtful and insightful, Andrew. Thank you for sharing with us.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Debra says:

    This Easter I felt the absence of loved ones no longer at our table. As a Christian I experience hope and the joy of Christ’s promises, but then the sadness of loss. I think I focused more on the women coming to the tomb and finding it empty and when the story was told in our service I felt their pain. I really enjoyed reading your thoughts, Andrew, and respect the deep thinking. You’ve given me even more to ponder.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. CJ Hartwell says:

    I’ve wondered about those first reactions too, and how long it must have taken for a sense of joy to overtake their confusion and shame. We tend to treat it as if their tears were turned to joy just like that, but it’s so rarely that simple. And in truth, I’m thankful for that.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I like the points that you raised today, Andrew. A few years ago we saw a play at A.C.T. in San Francisco that touches on some of your thoughts. “Testament” was written by the Irish playwright, Colm Toíbín, and it is a one-woman show. In it, Mary tells the story of her son’s rise and fall, and “those people he fell in with”. It is a unique point-of-view.

    Here’s a link to a .pdf file of the show’s program: http://www.act-sf.org/content/dam/act/2014-15_Season/Testament/Testament_Program.pdf

    Have a great week,
    Ω

    Like

  5. restlessjo says:

    Sorry to chip in with Cindy, Andrew. I was about to say that Easter isn’t a joyful time for many, but it’s always nice to have something to celebrate. The weather is dismal here right now and I didn’t buy chocolate, but I’m wishing I did. 🙂 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s not joyful for all. While the chocolate and bunnies add a bit of fun, we should always remember how our modern observance of this day came about and how that differs from the first Easter.

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  6. Your serious reverent side is spot on, Andrew.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. The meanings of important holidays has been buried in society’s commercialization of them .

    Liked by 2 people

  8. jfwknifton says:

    I thin that the two wildly different attitudes to Easter come from the fact that there is a big input from the northern European Ēostre (Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C4%92ostre)
    The first paragraph has Bede explaining how it all came about, and the two paragraphs about rabbits and other customs are “Jacob Grimm, *Ostara, and Easter customs” and “Hares and Freyja”.
    By the way, I fully agree that the disciples must surely have thought “What now?” in quite a frightened way. And they soon got their answer!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. cindy knoke says:

    Yes, well the spiritual message has been there always, for Mary, for all of us.
    She told the truth, she said he is still here
    It took me decades to receive this message, with constant unanswered prayers, until I got the answer I didn’t expect, which changed my life.
    Happy Easter.

    Liked by 2 people

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