Today is Maundy Thursday. Lent is almost over, and Easter is almost here. I have been dreading Easter in Bill’s absence because it was always our favorite holiday. We didn’t exchange many Christmas presents; instead, we gave each other Easter baskets.
He and I often gave one another the same gift. For example, last Easter, in anticipation of a new grocery store that was set to open within walking distance of our house, Bill and I gave each other personal grocery carts. (We didn’t need two.) His was practical; mine was hopeful. The doctors had told us that Bill’s time was short, but I hoped he would be here when the store opened. He was, but, because he was too weak by that time, he never got to use the cart.
As I have gone through things while getting ready to move, I found the Easter cards we exchanged last year. Bill’s card to me thanked me for being his “rock.” I wonder if he had any idea how I would crumble after he was gone. Still, it was healing to read those words again and to remember that, at the end, he believed he could count on me.
The Bible calls God our “rock.” In all honesty, I’m struggling to find my footing on that rock again. Preaching this Easter will be a challenge unlike any I have ever faced. How do you talk about resurrection when you still feel entombed by grief?
Jesus shining like a bright penny when he emerged from the tomb isn’t resonating with me this year. What has spoken to me and touched me, though, is the image from John 11 that we read a couple Sundays ago. The Bible notes that before Jesus called Lazarus forth from the tomb he stood there and wept. Even in the face of resurrection, Jesus was moved with grief. That is a part of the story I never understood … until now.
Rev. Michael Piazza