So here I am, back as promised, to wish you a Happy Easter. It’s a little late in the day but I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to say that throughout the past week I was creating blog posts in my mind that, unfortunately, only made it a couple of times to print. Now we are in a different season altogether. It’s a sunny 65 degrees (F) here in upstate New York and the daffodils have come bursting to flower – very different from the cloudy, cold touring weather of two days ago. Holy Week is over, for which most people are grateful. It’s hard to think of all that violence and pain, after all. Much nicer to sing “Alleluia!” and rejoice in the Risen Christ.
On Thursday I was struck by two competing images that had a significant effect on my reflection about what was going on in the life of Jesus and friends as it related to the here and now. I was at a park known for its vast expanse of spring flowers – acres and acres of color in different configurations with hundreds – maybe thousands – of people exclaiming about the beauty and creativity of what was before them. Everyone was so uplifted; I thought of the crowds on Palm Sunday as Jesus entered Jerusalem to their shouts of praise. As I was leaving, the throng pouring through the gates made me think of a stream of refugees as I could hear many languages and see a diversity of faces, all beautiful faces, moving toward an exit – toward home (?).
It would be a stretch to try to draw a direct line from one of those images to the other. I guess my thoughts were all background to the reality that life – although a series of moments – is also a wholeness where wild rejoicing and violence sometimes intertwine and where situations can change abruptly, leaving us to look for solutions which are sometimes very hard to find – or even impossible.
Even as we celebrate the Resurrection of Christ, we know that there are hordes of people suffering from violence, being forced from their homelands and refused, in some cases, a safe place of refuge. How are we to reconcile this reality with the core of Christian faith? How can we rise when our brothers and sisters are still held down?
I remember a poem from long ago that began: Easter people everywhere, shining Jesus love…” That seems the only answer to my question right now. I need to be listening for what I can do to alleviate the pain of displacement that is so vast in our world. And while I’m listening, I need to be radiating love to all those who need to know that resurrection is possible – not in a simplistic way (There are no simplistic soluntions in this complex world) but in the only way we can proceed: in hope and love and trust and willingness. And in solidarity – never separating ourselves from those who need us and count on us to transmit our reasons for hope to them.
I wonder what I would have written if I had started on Thursday and been successful at posting then – and on Friday and yesterday. Would today’s words have wiped away the recognitions that appear above? Is it ever that way for us? Can we ever let go of the reality of yesterday in order to let in today? But how do we hold both? Ah, therein lies the rub…and it will take more than today to settle on a response. Maybe that is a task for the Fifty Days of Easter…