There are always and ever those groups who “demonstrate” for change. They carry banners and camp out on street corners and capitol grounds. They want things to change.
Then there are those who complain about changes. They probably want their dial or push-button phones back. They recall with fondness when all roads were two lanes and cars had a dimmer switch in the floorboard. Life was somewhat predictable then, with just enough “new inventions” to keep monotony waiting in the wings, but still enough same-old, same-old to give folks a sense of comfort and security.
During this season, we realize that the one constant, the one truth, the one unchangeable, is the event celebrated at what we have begun to call Easter. A more appropriate title is Resurrection Sunday, for that is what it is all about.
The Resurrection of our Savior was not and is not a tangible object. We can’t touch it, put it in a different mold, turn it into a “modern” event. We can’t, as humans, pack it away in the attic or rent a storage unit to hide it from thieves or detractors.
We can’t sweep it under the rug, or drown it or send it on a rocket ship to the moon. It is the Resurrection, the very basis of our faith. The story, and all its implications, has survived, unchanged, through the centuries. The tomb is still empty, the grave un-dug. Yet the skeptics, the atheists, the agnostics, the scoffers, all still stand adamant in their indifferent and apathetic defiance.
Our Creator, in His indisputable wisdom, gave us seasons, and all of nature. Easter, and the season in which it is celebrated, means new birth, new beginnings.
As one anonymous writer said, “Every April God rewrites Genesis.” Yes, it’s “deja vu all over again.” Springtime — and The Resurrection — is the ultimate monumental change … from nothing to something, from death to life, from despair to hope, from frailty to strength, from snow and ice (heaven help us!) to sunshine. Yet, in and of itself, it is never-changing.
For those of us who grew up in Christian homes, Easter was a fact of life. Why would we ever question it? There were all the accompanying trimmings, the new Sunday clothes, rabbits and baby chickens, egg hunts, new shoes (when we were anxious for May 1 when we could go barefoot for the first time), the sermons and the music.
“He Arose” was so ingrained in our hearts and hearing, there was no inkling of doubt. To someone who hears this story and understands its message for the first time, the story must surely seem supernatural, as it is.
But there are people who have not heard of Easter or a Savior or His Resurrection. They have no hope for today or tomorrow, and no comfort to be found in their past. And many of them are not blessed with a springtime such as ours.
It’s icy and cold, somewhere. It’s arid and dry and barren somewhere else. The climate, the landscape, beg for signs of Easter, and its people yearn for something more.
I go often at Eastertime to Peter Marshall’s inspiring telling of the first Easter. “… suddenly, at a given time between sunset and dawn … there is a rustling as of the breath of God moving through a garden. A Man rises up from the cold stone slab where He had been laid. We must see Him as He walks to the threshold of the tomb, stands swaying for a moment on wounded feet and walks out into the dewy garden, alive forevermore. We must be able to see in mind’s eye the discarded grave-clothes that … lay like the shriveled, cracked shell of a cocoon, left behind when the moth has emerged and hoisted her bright sails in the sunshine … Or, more accurately, like a glove from which the hand has been removed, the fingers of which still retain the shape of the hand. In that manner, the grave-clothes were lying, collapsed a little, slightly deflated, because there was between the rolls of bandages a considerable weight of spices. But there lay the linen cloth that had been wound round the body of Christ.”
The stone was rolled away, not for Him to leave the tomb, but for his followers to enter. So here we are … but He is not here. He is risen.
He is risen indeed. And we are changed for all time.
Juanita Hughes is retired head of the Woodstock Library.