Unlike Christmas (the holiday that still brings out a fanatical, childlike joy in me in the form of decorations, lights, and hours of caroling and baking), the trappings of Easter lost their hold on me somewhere around fifth or sixth grade. As an adult, I don’t typically decorate eggs, I don’t fill baskets with candy and, because as a child it was ingrained in me that the focus of the holiday was on Jesus, not a rabbit, I’ve never been into bunnies, real or otherwise.
As a pastor’s kid who not only went to church multiple times a week but also attended Christian schools the rest of the week, I can’t count how many Easter sermons I have heard or read in my lifetime. How many Good Friday messages, watch night services and 7 stations of the cross, all leading to a new spring colored Easter outfit (complete with hat and gloves) and the the the grandeur, exhilaration and triumph of The Easter Service.
But it wasn’t until I was reflecting on the holiday this weekend that I realized just how much the holiday has shaped the entirety of my life, far beyond the religious practices that I hold dear. No single principle has impacted my life in every way imaginable - how I think, work, love, and vote - more than the idea of the Resurrection.
The Resurrection story itself is simple and is the seminal Biblical miracle: On Friday Christ is crucified. He is buried in a tomb. On Sunday, He rose again.
That narrative and the lessons it teaches pretty much explain how I live my life.
It has taught me that things others perceive to be dead may not be. And if something in life is truly dead, the “death” - the bottoming out, the valley, the downfall - is just a necessary stop on the path to new life. It has taught me that deep hope and faith shouldn’t be shaken by what others may see as defeat. It has taught me that what looks like an ending could really just be a beginning. And that belief and expectation beyond that which seems logical, practical, and possible brings the greatest of victories.
My deep appreciation for that story is why I fight for love, even when it’s hard. It is why I see failures - my own included - as a comma and not a period in the story of life. It is why I believe so deeply in mercy, redemption and second chances. It is why I know that present circumstances don't define my future. It is why I walk with confidence, always, that despite the cultural climate, the economic climate, the political climate, we gon' be alright.
One of my favorite songs sung by the late Daryl Coley "When Sunday Comes" talks about about this notion of expectation. And that's my message to you today. No matter where you are in your journey - from Friday (when something you hoped for and believed in has just been laid in a tomb) to Saturday (as you are sitting stunned, feeling the full impact of the pain, barely holding on)...even if those days have stretched into weeks, months, or years. Just remember that it is possible for that which seems lifeless to rise again. Even you. Do not give up. Do not stop believing. Do not stop expecting. Because truly, Sunday always comes.