Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Cross, The Grave, The Skies

Every Easter the song “Christ the Lord is Risen Today” gets me in some deep gut place and almost always causes me to cry. I’ve sung it after the deaths of people I love with triumphant expectation, I’ve sung it in the midst of sadness as a prayer for newness of life, and I’ve heard it sung by a child with enough heartache in his life to make his unabashed alleluia’s humble me into hope.

But this Easter what struck me most was the part that says “ours the cross, the grave, the skies.” We want the resurrection, the skies, the triumphal alleluia’s. But ours is also the cross and the grave. There are times for the hopeful ascension of the skies and there are times to identify with the sufferings of Christ and say, yes, there is a cross that is mine also. There are times for feeling the pain of the women who could not stay away, who needed to lay their hands on cold stone and do something to mark the place where their beloved died, times for feeling their pain and saying yes, in the grief of my heart this day, mine is also the grave.

I am praying for courage to embrace not only the alleluia’s but also the time for bearing crosses and the unflinching death of dreams. And to realize that even in those blackest of times, the disciples were not alone. They had each other as they walked to the stone and its finality; they had each other to listen and cry and hear the story as they asked for the thousandth time “Is he really gone?” They were not alone.

And I have learned that the promise of those who are with me in suffering is enough. It is enough to let me survive till that lovely “early in the morning” time and the whisper I’ve waited my whole life to hear from the one who holds it all—cross, grave, and skies—who knows my name, and says to me cutting through a thousand deaths with these words of promise:

 “Woman, why are you weeping?”