In the liturgical year of the church, we have entered the season of Eastertide: fifty days — a week of weeks — during which we celebrate the Resurrection. We spent the forty days of Lent fasting and repenting, remembering our need for a Savior; we now spend even longer rejoicing that our Savior has come.
Each week from now through early June, those of us in liturgical traditions will start every worship service with this greeting and response: Alleluia! The Lord is Risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia!
But what does it look like to celebrate resurrection?
Jesus' resurrection is his defeat of sin and death and evil. It is the promise that we, too, will be resurrected; that Jesus defeated death not only for himself but for all of us. When we proclaim the resurrection we proclaim the audacious hope that God is making all things new, restoring all things, bringing the kingdom of heaven into being.
Sometimes resurrection looks like miracles and renewal, broken things made whole, battles won. It looks like Aslan, light shining from his mane, breathing new life into dead stones, crushing evil.
But sometimes resurrection is Frodo and Sam, trudging into the barren darkness of Mordor with only a tiny spark of hope. Resurrection is dancing in the aisle at at Easter even as you weep for the loss of someone you love. Resurrection is taking your medications and making your millionth PB&J and planting annuals in the spring.
Resurrection means clinging to the hope, the crazy, beautiful hope, that all of this — pain, joy, suffering — is being redeemed, is given meaning by the resurrection of God-become-human, of Jesus.
I want resurrection to be big and glorious, to be Aslan driving back the White Witch. But mostly, resurrection isn’t like that. It’s small and easy to miss. It’s a pot of tea shared by friends on a cold day. It’s a sympathetic word for the parent with a tired toddler in the grocery store. It’s saying something kind when you want to be cutting.
Resurrection is carrying that spark of hope even when everything is bleak. Not a hope that ignores the darkness, but a hope that the risen Christ will — in fact, has — overcome the darkness.
Maybe this is why we celebrate Easter for fifty days. It’s easy enough to sustain this hope for a day, especially a day filled with sweet breads and chocolate bunnies. But to celebrate the resurrection for seven weeks takes discipline and a commitment to carrying hope and Easter light into our ordinary lives.
This Eastertide, then, let us celebrate resurrection. Maybe we’re like Lucy, and celebration is easy as we ride, breathless with joy, on Aslan’s back. Maybe we’re Samwise, desperately weary, barely able to remember anything green and living. Likely, we’re somewhere in between. But whether or not the hope of resurrection comes easily, let us speak into our lives, our neighborhoods, our world: Alleluia! The Lord is Risen!
And let us listen carefully to hear that he is risen indeed. Alleluia.