Saturday, March 26, 2016

Thinking About Easter

Easter Sunday will be strange tomorrow. This year, Pam and I are alone in this big old house. Last year we were in Nashville celebrating with our son and meeting his new girlfriend. Easter morning saw us at a packed Episcopal church. Before that, it had been the same for over twenty years...plastic eggs filled with money hidden downstairs, then empty tomb rolls for breakfast. Times change, along with our celebrations.

We will still have empty tomb rolls, which will seem weird without the kids. Then we will dress up for church, the one Sunday these days when we dress for church like we used to dress every Sunday. Yet another change. Because it's Grove, the music will be sweeping and grand, although all I really want to hear on this day is a thunderous pipe organ belting out Christ the Lord is Risen Today, the bass notes pounding in my chest! But that old classic has gone the way of the responsive reading in the modern Baptist liturgy. 

Easter is what I cling to nowadays. At a time when church has lost its urgency for me, and at a time when I spend most of my time there feeling embarrassed, the resurrection still moves me. It remains the essential doctrine that for me validates my faith. I have studied the story a thousand times, a thousand times I have tried and failed to fashion an explanation for it that doesn't include the physical resurrection of Jesus. Still, nothing explains the impact wrought on civilization by Christianity, other than that band of poor, itinerant fishermen seeing and touching the risen Christ. Nothing. Because he rose from the grave, he must have been the Son of God. For me, it all boils down to that central fact of history. Everything else is fluff.

So, tomorrow, alone among a year's worth of Sundays, I know that I'll be exactly where I'm supposed to church