This is part of my Listening in Lent series in which I reflect on my experience of practicing listening during this holy season.
This winter I’ve really come to love the kind of darkness only present in the pre-dawn hours. Admittedly, I’ve always been a morning person. I always get up to do yoga, go for a run or swim early in the morning. This winter, I started attending a 6 a.m. yoga class twice a week. Since I live only a mile from the studio, most of the time I walk there, leaving my house at 5:30 a.m.
The still-very-dark winter morning contains a special kind of quiet. The air is infused with the weight of so many still sleeping bodies, ensconced in blankets and protected by walls of their homes while the lightness of the breaking sun creeps almost imperceptibly toward the horizon. A few hearty souls are getting ready for shifts at bakeries, restaurants, hotels and hospitals. A small few of us are throwing on yoga pants or running gear for morning exercise.
I came to know by sight a few familiar faces of those opening the shops, restaurants and hotels in downtown Kalamazoo, Michigan. We usually don’t speak, but through half-open eyes we exchange sleepy, knowing glances — they, too, know the magic of this time during which the birds don’t yet sing.
Getting up this early every day helps me live a little piece of the resurrection. The Easter Vigil must have felt like that, mired in the weightiness of death with just a slim glimmer of hope that Jesus would make good on his promise and come again and rebuild the temple to its glory.
My more skeptical friends might find these words hard to swallow. To some, they might seem like a quaint, fanciful old story. To others, complete hogwash. I’ve read plenty of academic stuff myself about the resurrection — about what Biblical scholars say about the empirical facts of the resurrection, that Jesus followers didn’t write these stories down until long after Jesus died. It’s likely the authors of the gospels were not even there on resurrection day.
On Easter Sunday morning, I don’t really care about all this heady, skeptical stuff. Not that healthy skepticism is bad, I just don’t want to live in that space on THIS day. I simply want to live in the possibilities of the dawn. I want to wonder what wonder God is going to bless us with in the new day. I want to be curious about the what’s next, not mourning for what’s lost.
I want to remember that the story of the resurrection is “true” enough — that a group of people wanted to embrace LIFE in this Resurrected Chris so much t that they told the story for future generations: That this zealot prophet named Jesus, who was put to shameful death by state authorities, triumphed over death. Meaning, in this world, shame and bitterness and death DO NOT have the last word.
Hope. Love. Redemption. Joy. Those are the last words.
He is Risen! He is Risen Indeed! Happy Easter Morning everyone.