What are your memories of Holy Week and Easter? Maybe growing up or with your own family?
Different families and faith communities have such creative and beautiful ways to celebrate the resurrection, this victory over death. Like many of you, I celebrate with dyed eggs, flowers, food, family, and at church with the flowering of the cross, classic triumphal hymns and sunrise services. Here is one Easter memory that sticks with me in a vivid way.
In 2007 Scott and I were living in Pasadena California, finishing seminary, and my grandfather, who we called Vovo, was dying. I joined the rest of my family to be with him in his final days and he passed away on Good Friday. I remember sitting in my dark bedroom after his death as beams of moonlight illuminated the room and thinking wondering, “where did he go?” There is a U2 song titled One Step Closer. The words of the chorus played over and over in my mind… “one step closer to knowing.” When a loved one dies, to me it feels like we get to walk with them up to a sliding glass door and when they die it is as if they pass through the door, we remain on the other side with no view of what is on the other side. There I stand, humbled by the mystery… one step closer to knowing.
All of the Easter stories felt more alive, almost in hyper-color, the year Vovo died. It was as if I could feel the disciples’ grief at losing a friend in my own grief. I also felt the… “So, what are we supposed to do now?” that I imagine the disciples felt. How do you pick up and move on? On Easter morning we went to worship at CU’s Macky Auditorium, next to the dorm where my grandmother (who was still alive) had lived in 1938. It’s a place steeped in history and memories. I felt at peace almost floating on a sea of hope and mystery for what lies beyond. Easter for me is an invitation to lean toward mystery and to celebrate the hope of new life.