Happy Easter. I have long struggled with Easter, I think largely because I’ve struggled with springtime as a time of in-betweens that has often felt uncomfortable. In recent years I’ve become more at peace with this time of year. And I’ve fallen more in love with Eastertime, the central time of the Christian calendar when Christ reformed death from a nothing into a something by bringing down the great and thorny bramble wall and forging in its place a narrow path.
It’s that path that provides the basis for our hope of resurrection, which is a new and transfigured life. I’ve included here my favorite depiction of the resurrection, Sir Stanley Spencer’s 1920s masterpiece that hangs in London’s Tate Museum that shows so well the alarming nature of Christ’s promise.
Bishop Barron has a great reflection on Easter that’s worth watching in its fullness:
I’ve also been receiving Bishop Barron’s Lent reflections, and while each has been rewarding it is Easter’s that I’ve found the most arresting and worth sharing. It speaks to the Easter Gospel, John 20:1-9:
Friends, our Easter Gospel contains St. John’s magnificent account of the resurrection. It was, says John, early in the morning on the first day of the week. It was still dark—just the way it was at the beginning of time before God said, “Let there be light.” But a light was about to shine, and a new creation was about to appear.
The stone had been rolled away. That stone, blocking entrance to the tomb of Jesus, stands for the finality of death. When someone that we love dies, it is as though a great stone is rolled across them, permanently blocking our access to them. And this is why we weep at death—not just in grief but in a kind of existential frustration.
But for Jesus, the stone had been rolled away. Undoubtedly, the first disciples must have thought a grave robber had been at work. But the wonderful Johannine irony is that the greatest of grave robbers had indeed been at work. The prophet Ezekiel says this, “I will open your graves and have you rise from them.”
What was dreamed about, what endured as a hope against hope, has become a reality. God has opened the grave of his Son, and the bonds of death have been shattered forever.
Christ is truly risen.