Over the past several years Ive embarked on a project to preserve the film history of my family. Recently I discovered one of the earliest home movies in the Taylor family archives.
Its Christmas Eve. My older sister Lynn, is barely 3, and Im still trying to figure out how to walk without falling. What has captivated me about this particular film is the absolute glee my sister exhibits. She is joy personified as she dances around the front door trying to catch a glimpse of Santa. She cant contain her ecstasy and twirls around the arm of a chair like a gymnast. Literally her joy knows no bounds.
Then theres me. I try to imitate my sisters joy but its abundantly clear that I have no idea whats going on. Finally I stop and gaze with questioning eyes into my fathers eyes behind the camera. The unspoken question is, Daddy, whats going on here?
In a very real sense, thats the question of Easter. Whats going on here? Some come to Easter like my sister, bursting with glee, bursting with the sheer joy of being alive because He is alive - Jesus has been raised from the grave. And some of us are like me, uncertain as to what is happening and trying desperately to fit in. Welcome to Easter. To its joy. To its wonder. To its uncertainty. Whether you feel clued in or clueless, this Easter is for you, the same way that first Easter was for the first witnesses to the Resurrection.
The first witnesses to the Resurrection were uncertain as to what exactly happened. It took time for the full magnitude of Easter to sink in. Mary Magdalene initially thinks her beloved teacher is a gardener rather than the raised Christ. Even after the Resurrection, Peter and the other disciples fail to recognize Jesus as he sits on the beach whipping up breakfast for the hungry fishermen. Frederick Buencher speculates that maybe they didnt recognize them because our eyes are too accustomed to darkness and our faith not strong enough to believe in the reality of light even if it were to blaze up before us. Buechner goes on to say, however, that to believe that Christ is risen and alive in the world is to believe that there is no place or person or thing in the world which is not made more alive by his life, and whenever we are made more alive, whenever we are made more brave and strong and beautiful, we may be sure that Christ is present with us.
Jesus Christ is risen. He is present today and the world is forever changed. Death and darkness no longer have dominion. Maybe you follow Jesus gleefully skipping behind him like a small child. Maybe you follow Jesus without a clue as to whats going on, following with the unsteady steps of a young child, who believes that in time this will all make sense.
Welcome to Easter. Welcome to your new life in Christ. May we recognize Jesus when he appears to each of us - and He will, you know. And may we have a childs delight in following him.
(The Rev. Cynthia Taylor is pastor of the Church of the Holy Comforter Episcopal Church, which meets at Savannah Rapids Pavillion.)
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