This is the most beautiful thing I have ever read about Easter, and perhaps, Christianity as a whole, written by Rachel Held Evans:
I keep thinking about the women who showed up at the tomb on Easter morning. On the days that I believe the story, I’m struck by the fact that they showed up with burial spices. They showed up ready to walk through the rituals of grief and say goodbye to their friend. That was women’s work in those days, tending to those vulnerable things. But it’s only attending to the vulnerable things that we can expect to witness a miracle.
I can’t promise you resurrection, but I can promise you companionship. I can promise you friends for the journey. I can promise you fellow travelers to help you carry those burial spices. And as we tend to the vulnerable things together, may the God of every season, the God of survival — and if not survival, then death and resurrection — bless, preserve and keep you, now and forever. Amen.
This Easter, like all things this year, is stretched around new pain, new loneliness, new fear. It is much less about belief, doctrine, dogma, or ritual. It is less about the theology of the resurrection of the body, which I promise you is a complicated, highly convoluted debate. It is less about who can have participate in communion, and who cannot. No one is sharing the Eucharist this year. It is not even about bringing our collective weariness to a shared table because we aren’t under the same roof as our loved ones, let alone the people with whom we share the same religion.
Easter, this year, is much more about love, new life, and finding wells of hope. In my own life, I see more friends reaching for practices and texts that offer meaning and relief.
I have never thought that God only cares about those who stand under white steeples. Christianity, to me, is one way of understanding the meaning, the significance, and the importance of our lives. I could never look at the living world or my own family without curiosity, wonder, and gratitude. Faith, therefore, is an act of hope rooted in love. Faith means not that your beliefs remain static. Faith means that you reach your heart toward the vulnerable things, hoping that God or love or awareness will meet you there.
For many I know, faith is irrelevant. And today is just like any other Sunday. People are organisms, and all of us are just fighting to survive on this piece of space debris, which luckily for our creature ancestors, happened to have water. Honestly, that’s fine. That’s one way to live a human life.
But for me, the world is far more mysterious, and even as we stand in the midst of this mystery, I still find beauty in the story of Christianity. The very idea that there is a God who loves us and welcomes us home with tears of joy and open arms and celebration always, that death leads to life, that love wins, that love pervades all things… it is so beautiful that I can’t shake it.
Why? Because love is the best of who we are, individually and together. And in Christianity, Christ is God incarnate – love incarnate. And in the Easter narrative, love rises again. The tomb seems empty at first, but the truth is even more beautiful than even Mary Magdalene could allow herself to believe. God returns not seeking punishment or retribution or acclaim. He simply says, “Mary,” “why are you crying?”
I have been a teacher, a student, a crisis worker, a daughter, a sister, a friend, a spouse, a caretaker, and a writer. I live my life at the site of vulnerable things. I want to live my life in this way, more and more and more.
Easter, this year, is pervaded by sadness, confusion, loneliness, despair, and unanswerable questions. Just as it would have been over two thousand years ago. Unlike in previous years in our lifetimes, when this day would have smelled of lilies and incense, today may feel more empty, more uncertain, punctured by human things, like cloth masks and black coffee and vitamin C.
We, most likely, will not behold a vision of Christ clothed in white. At least, I’m not banking on that. But I think the way we can cultivate a little more strength, a little more comfort, a little more hope is by tending to a vulnerable something. More like gardeners and less like a resurrected Christ, we can hold something gently within our hands, whether that is a pet or a cloth mask or a bar of soap or a phone we use to call our families, and infuse our actions with love. Be like a gardener, who holds hope for new life, who plants seeds, who knows what good things need to survive, who knows that seeds lead to life, life leads to seeds.
May you find some peace this Easter day. May you know that you are never truly alone. May you feel the presence of love encircling you. May you tend to things that grow and heal the world.