Joy Again?

Easter came near to us this year with pent up longing. A tentative hopefulness. 

After the cancellation of public worship at Easter last year, after the loss of community and paralyzing isolation, having watched the devastation of millions dying worldwide — after all that, in my little corner of the world things are changing. Infections are down to a trickle, and vaccines are becoming readily available. We are fortunate.

On Easter morning we gathered at the church where I have the privilege of preaching these days. Congregants came with palpable eagerness for joy. We’ve been so battered. Whiplashed emotionally by the viral roller coaster. We read of surges in parts of the country and outbreaks of new variants in places. We fear for them, but with half-held breath, we feel like we are coming up for air.

Dare we imagine normality approaching? What does normal even look like now?

The feeling made me imagine the early disciples during the first Easter week: wanting to hope that life had returned, but not sure how much weight to put down on it. Wondering if hands gripping fear and grief really could be relaxed. Wondering about giving in to joy again.

In worship on Sunday we couldn’t hold back the joy. It kept seeping into the room, refusing to be contained by tentativeness. We felt we could breathe deeply again. Life was palpable. It really was Easter. 

“I make all things new,” the King said. 

New. Not the same, but new. 

What will new look like? How long will it be new? 

Doesn’t matter. Resurrection life can’t be predicted, scheduled, or controlled. It can only be lived with joy, drinking from the Water of Life. Whether with tentative sips or gulping mouthfuls, we are invited to drink of the Word: “I am making all things new.” 

* Photograph of “The Incredulity of Saint Thomas,” by Caravaggio. 
* Scripture quotation from The Revelation 21:5-6.

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