To get the full effect you need to read that title with the voice of a Soccer announcer in your head. My goal for this Lenten Blog was to write something every day throughout Lent. 46 blog posts in 46 days – more or less. I did it, and that feels good. Boy Howdy, this Lent has zoomed past.
It has also been the most draining Lent I’ve had possibly ever. There are many reasons for that and the specifics don’t really matter. The result is that I am worn out both physically and emotionally. I imagine that the followers of Jesus felt much the same way on the Saturday after he died. It was their Sabbath, but for some I’m sure it was hard to concentrate on worshiping God. For some it may have been hard to talk with God or feel any connection to God at all. The pain, the paralysis, the anger, the confusion, the disorientation of deep grief make it hard to do much of anything. It’s all we can do to keep breathing.
I set my alarm to get up early this morning; well, early for me. I woke up just before the alarm was to go off at 7:30 am. Why in the world would I get up this early on the Saturday before Easter? Because tomorrow I have to get up even earlier. My alarm will be set for 4:30 am in order to make it our “sunrise” service. It’s not really at sunrise. 6:30 am is just really early. Today I am wondering why in the world I would ever agree to do this again, but tomorrow, once I’m there, I’ll be glad. It is the one day of the year I like to be up early.
Easter is never just another day to me, no matter what is going on that day or what has gone on during Lent. I am always amazed at how deep my feelings run each year. Maybe some of that is sleep deprivation, but most of it is the experience. Maybe the sleep deprivation is what opens me up to the experience. It’s hard to describe.
When I look out over the congregation I can see that some of the people are only here because they believe they are supposed to be here or someone dragged them here. But there are others who are here because they are exhilarated by the knowledge that Christ is risen! (He is risen indeed!) And still others who have had even more difficult Lents than I have and who are holding tight to the reality of a risen Lord whether they feel it that day or not.
I think it’s interesting that today’s reading is Genesis 1:1-2:2. It is the story of creation. In the beginning God created. The first words of the Gospel of Mark are similar: “the beginning of the Good News of Jesus Christ, the Son of God”. It’s the beginning, not the end. Here is hoping that for you tomorrow is a vivid experience of the beginning.