We just celebrated Easter, the fact that death does not have the last word. We rejoiced in resurrection and life. The triumph of light over darkness. The relief that the empty grave brought (and still brings) us.
The challenge we now face is to translate this Easter experience into our daily lives.
To not let this experience remain a story on the pages, a once in a year event.
So what actually happened that Sunday that we should allow to permeate our day-to-day routine?
Even before his death, Jesus said,
“In this world you will have trouble. But I have overcome this world.” (Matthew 16:33)
There it is. Once and for all, Jesus has done it.
Death is dead, life has won.
He has overcome, and calls us to do the same.
We tend to quote and rejoice in the second half of the verse, but there’s more to it. Jesus is not some obscure magician who just – Boom – finishes the work of the cross.
He promises trouble ahead. Why? Because he’s been through it before us.
He walked this earth and spoke to people.
He observed their struggles, helped their needs, shared their lives.
He experienced the trouble this world is so full of and he relieved it.
Not with magic, not from one moment to the next.
But he settled it once and for all.
He aligned himself with this world.
Made himself one with our hopes, our struggles, our hearts, our lives.
In the midst of our darkness he speaks words of life: I am here. With you. For you.
There’s still lots of trouble out there.
Often I am overwhelmed when reading the news. Political conflicts in so many countries, hostility towards other people in my own country.
But you don’t have to go that far to be troubled. Just listen to people, read emails from friends, meet up with them for coffee and just listen.
We might not even have to go further than ourselves to experience the dreadfullness of what life throws at us. Too much too handle and seemingly no way out.
Look into a stranger’s eyes and you’ll see it: trouble.
Leaning towards death rather than life.
We are called to bring Easter back into people’s and our lives.
We are called to speak life into seemingly dead situations.
To not let dread and hopelessness and despair have the last word.
We are called to overcome.
Not with magic.
Not all at once, from one moment to the next.
But with ourselves.
We have time to spend and listen to others.
We have open hands to lift someone up.
We have powerful stories to tell.
We have scarred lives to share.
We have our souls to align with those who suffer.
We have words, simple words often: I am here. With you, for you. We are in this together.
Stepping down into trouble, staying with the troubled, and waiting till the storm is passed might be some of the greatest relief we can give.