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Gus and Easter

He is risen!

I pray that you are having a blessed Easter. Does it seem perfect that Easter weekend fell on the first day of Spring this year? All that was cold and dead is now returning to life, or as I wrote in a lyric for a new song I just finished: “Winter breaks upon the Easter Lily’s bloom…”

On Friday morning when Taya was getting Gus, our 4 year old, dressed, she was explaining to him that Good Friday is the day that Jesus died for our sins and that it is in three days on Easter Sunday that we celebrate Jesus coming back to life.

“Yep,” Gus said. “And when the devil dies, he’s dead forever, right?”

Not knowing exactly how to answer that, Taya and I looked at each other. “Did you tell him that?” “No, I thought maybe you did.”

Gus came up with that on his own, I guess, and though I’m not sure if it’s a 100% theologically sound, it’s an interesting thought and there is some truth in there. Gus is always surprising us with his little spontaneous bursts of philosophy.

Poet John Donne wrote, “Death, thou shalt die” and in this the worst of hell will be undone. Of all the great hopes that Easter offers, this has to be one of the greatest. Maybe that is the truth of what Gus said.

The pastor’s message at last year’s Easter service has stayed with me all through this year. He suggested that Easter isn’t really for those who are in a near miss situation, or those waiting for deliverance or hope in the 11th hour. It’s not really for those waiting for God to intervene just in the knick of time. Easter is for those whose 11th hour came and went, for those whose hope has run out of time, for those who’ve gotten the worst news and live in the time called “too late”.

This must have been the felt reality of the disciples – disillusioned as all they had staked their life on had dissipated like a vapor. Their master, the one they had begun to believe was the Christ, was murdered and burried in the ground along with their hopes and dreams. I wonder: Did any of them feel like fools for daring to dream? It was over. It was too late. Period. Too late is when the tomb is sealed. It’s when the prognosis of the terminal disease is in, the divorce papers served, the last breath spent, the world fallen apart and hope broken amid the ruins.

And it’s for those who themselves are broken amid these same ruins that Easter is for, because this is the Easter story. When all hope was gone, given over to the grave that never before surrendered what it claimed, Hope rose again defeating the inevitability of hopelessness once and for all. From that moment on, the worst may happen, the virsuses both literal and figurative may rage, death intrudes, the darkness may deepen, and yet… and yet…

Easter is the promise of the “and yet…” Hope for the hopeless. The clock turning back on “too late”. The death of Death itself. Dawn breaking.

“Death, thou shalt die!” along with all who are in league with you. All because He is risen. Amen

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