Right on schedule, I came down with a head cold on Easter Monday. It’s an occupational hazard. It’s practically what Episcopal clergy sign up for. It should just be added into the ordination vows:
Q: Will you be diligent in the reading and study of Holy Scriptures?
A: I will.
Q: Will you stock up on Kleenex and Theraflu during Holy Week and promise not to complain when you start sneezing late in the afternoon on Easter Day for the rest of your vocational life?
A. I will.
I’m not complaining about the head cold. But I do wish it would go away. I also wish the pot holes all over town would get fixed – today! And I wish my propensity to impatience would dissipate. And I wish relationships that feel strained would magically heal with the touch of a few prayers.
In short, I wish Easter fixed everything.
But as it turns out, Easter doesn’t take away the hurts and hardships, the pot holes and the much larger challenges of this world. We’re still here, sorting out the complexities, looking for hands to hold ours when we’re lonely, and being the ill-tempered, petty human beings we’ve always been.
But Easter does two things that matter a lot, at least to me. First, it reminds me that while my hardships matter – to me and to God – they are part of a much larger story of God creating and recreating and pulling new life out of what appears to have died. Just as Thomas was freed for new life only after touching Jesus’s wounds, we, too, find resurrection only by touching one another’s suffering and pain.
And second, Easter assures me that there is more going on than I can ever see or understand. My perspective is limited. I’m finite. The Spirit is making all things new in ways that I cannot fully fathom, even when my mind isn’t fogged over by a head cold. I place my hand over my mouth, as Job says (Ch. 40), in the face of the mysterium tremendum, who has been revealed – Happy Easter! – as love.