Sometimes I feel like a tiny bird with an injured leg from an encounter with the claws of a crazed cat. I know how lucky I am to be here and how much worse things could be; yet, still, I carry a limp from my wounds that sometimes keeps me tethered to the ground. (I might start telling people that when they ask me how I am doing.)
Life is so darn messy and most of us try terribly hard to tidy what we can. In its constancy, it can feel like a marathon, and like the tiny bird, we merely hop along. One of my favorite quotes is from Saint John Paul II who said: “We are the Easter people and hallelujah is our song.” It conveys such unparallel joy – a skyward ascent of heavenly praise. It hardly makes me think of hopping.
Indeed, we are the Easter people and we are meant to rise. Lent is a time to unload the burden of sin we carry. It’s a time to shed the miscellaneous and the excess. It is a time to reconnect to God by disconnecting from our distractions. Sometimes the Lenten experience feels empowering like a strenuous workout or the purging of an overstuffed closet. Other times, it just feels hard. All the emptying, sacrificing, and sustaining from a 40-day reflection can feel too austere for a hallelujah song. No sweet little bird chirps that indicate winter’s hibernation is over. Just a hop, hop. Yet Easter is coming – not just at the end of this Lenten season. Also, at the end of our lives. In between, in the thicket of life’s doing and undoing, we rise. Amidst the momentary affliction of life’s messiness, we remain upright. “Arise, for it is your task, and we are with you; be strong and do it,” (Ezra 10:4). Even when it’s hard or feels impossible — when there is not enough money, not enough time, not enough of your poor tired soul to go around — be strong and rise.
Jesus did the impossible. He did the miraculous. He transformed death. The finality of it was made infinite. Hallelujah is our song. It may not always feel like it, but our time on earth is nothing but a rising. We are enduring people. Our suffering does not define us. Our injuries do not bind us. Challenge, adversity, and wounds cannot stop our ascent. “Rejoice not over me, O my enemy; when I fall, I shall rise,” (Micah 7:8). We are the Easter people. It’s not just Christ’s resurrection we have to celebrate, it is the possibility of our own. Easter isn’t just a day culminating the end of Lent. It’s an everyday. The shedding of our burdens, the surrendering of suffering at the foot of his cross, and the unification of our souls to his, is what makes our rising possible. It’s what helps us to remember that even in our brokenness, we are an Easter people and we still have wings to fly.
Wishing you and your family the joy of the resurrection every day and especially on this upcoming Easter Sunday. Read last week’s post here.