It’s easy to forget that the first disciples woke on Easter not with excitement, but in the 3rd day of mourning. The women going to the tomb were still coming to grips with all that had happened since the previous week. I woke today with no great excitement – part of it was the weather (gloomy), and also my own worries and fears. I did not see a way out of them.
The day got better – a potluck with friends that included a surprise Easter egg hunt. I had forgotten (or did I ever know?) how fun looking for Easter eggs is! There’s a surprise and delight factor at seeing the bright colors hidden in the grass or in car doors or on ledges. Maybe that’s what is great about Easter egg hunts – on a very small scale it reminds us of the delight and surprise at the resurrection. So unexpected, so outside of the disciples’ control.
I went home to read and journal before ligurgy and picked up Henri Nouwen’s Finding My Way Home: Pathways to Life and the Spirit. The third chapter is entitled “The Path of Waiting” – and I especially appreciated his points about control and fears.
… our wishes tend to be connected with our fears, and fear, of course, prevents us from allowing time in our lives for open-ended waiting. For this reason, a lot of our waiting is not open-ended. Instead our waiting is a way of controlling the future.
But Zechariah, Elizabeth, Mary, Simeon, and Anna were not filled with wishes. They were filled with hope. Their hope was something very different. Their hope was trusting their fulfillment would come, but fulfillment according to the promises of God and not just according to their wishes. Hope is always open-ended.
…To wait with openness and trust is an enormously radical attitude toward life. It is choosing to hope that something is happening for us that is far beyond our imaginings. It is giving up control over our future and letting God define our life. It is living with the conviction that God molds us in love, holds us in tenderness, and moves us away from the sources of our fear.
He doesn’t shortchange how hard waiting can be, but gives new perspective. I am grateful. It’s what I needed this afternoon.
Easter liturgy at mosaic starts the way Saturday’s liturgy ends – in the dark with the windows all covered. But there’s a discernible buzz – restless and waiting. ‘Were you there when they laid him in the tomb…’ plays, and I lean over to a friend whispering, “It’s like Christmas, but so much better!” I had worried that my dark morning would drown out the joy of Easter, but was glad that it didn’t.
At Eucharist, I remember what Nouwen writes about prayer being a way that community comes together around a promise.
This is what Eucharist is about. It is saying ‘Thanks’ for the seed that has been planted. It is saying ‘We are waiting for the Lord, who has already come.’