“The darkest hours are just before dawn.” – English proverb
It’s a good thing Easter is a whole season, and not just a day.
I personally need these Great 50 Days
, especially during times of quarantine, because Easter Sunday has come and gone, but I have yet to fully experience newness of life. Yes – there have been glimpses – but the stone* is yet to be rolled away enough for me to walk through.
Easter Sunday was a bit underwhelming this year. Sure, we gathered with our faith community to celebrate the Resurrection of Our Lord
, albeit socially-distanced through a television screen.
And, as you all know by now, virtual gatherings are but a mere consolation to getting together face-to-face.
Yes, these 50 days are needed, because the other side of this pandemic has yet to be fully revealed. And while some have indicated the “peak” has already happened, new life still feels off in the distance. The other side of this mountain gives hope, but there is still hiking left on the way down. I am up for the journey, yes, because I know that keeping the faith sometimes requires unsteady times and jagged terrain. I could go on with many clichés for facing such obstacles as these – but instead I say this: it’s helpful to remember that a cliché only comes to be because it is rooted in a lot of reality.
Instead, I now pivot to theological terms. Jesus may have risen on Easter Sunday, but he has yet to come and knock on my door.
As for the Biblical account, the resurrected Jesus encounters many different people and groups during this Easter season. But, he does not do so all at once. Jesus begins with those first women at the tomb (Mary Magdalene and friends), later to Peter and John, later still to the disciples who shudder in the upper room. He then makes himself known to Thomas, who missed that gathering, days later. At another point, Jesus meets a group of people on the beach for a fish fry. He also travels with two more disciples on a journey to a town called Emmaus. A large crowd of 500+ also witness Jesus in this season, along with others he meets on a mountaintop. The resurrected Jesus even appears years later to a treacherous man named Saul, who later became the greatest missionary known to the church (St. Paul the Apostle).
From a global perspective, new life is starting to emerge. Pockets of our world have begun to see the stone rolled away. And those days are now beginning to be imagined in our region. Here at Berkeley, we continue to move down that mountain – with innovation, adaptation, and creativity – knowing that we will make it down; gather on campus once again as a community.
Resurrection has often been compared to the rising of the sun. Early converts of the faith would literally turn from the west to the east in baptism, seeing and feeling the new life they were entering. This spiritual metaphor seems apt in this time of pandemic – for we are beginning to see the sun emerge over the horizon, but have yet to see those rays in full glory. So it is with Jesus and the Great 50 Days.
May new life roll around to your doorstep, in good time, with a message of assurance and peace.