As Christians, we tend to celebrate Easter like it was Palm Sunday. We gather and say “he has risen” with the same enthusiasm the Palm Sunday crowds cheered “hosanna, ” not knowing what was to happen in the coming week. It wasn’t that way the first Easter.
Any followers Jesus had left that Sunday were in hiding. Scared and secluded, their expectations for the future lay shattered, what protections they had expected to enjoy were gone. The large crowds that had greeted them at the beginning of the week had turned against them.
Even Jesus’s moment of triumph was without witness. When Mary saw the miracle with her own eyes, she was too set in her expectations of loss to see it for what it was. The Gardener was just a gardener until he spoke her name.
I think I’m feeling closer to that original Easter than I ever have. So many of my friends are suddenly unemployed. So much is up in the air about our collective future. Although I am personally about as secure as anyone can be in this economy, many of the protections I’ve enjoyed are now uncertain. I won’t spend Easter with large crowds of jubilant, confident people. We will be checking in from small groups, sequestered away from the dangers that crowds present.
And right now, I’m not sure I would recognize a miracle until it spoke my name.
But, miracles are happening. Contrary to every post-apocalyptic myth, as society hits a crisis point, we pull together rather than apart. Even socially distant, we check in with each other and spend our creativity on finding ways to help people we can no longer touch. Science is progressing apace; several vaccines are heading to trial. We don’t have enough ventilators, but engineers are coming up with ways of producing more or using the ones we have more efficiently. People separated by walls are connecting through windows. Whether we hear the miracles calling our names, we are living in miraculous times. We are separated from each other, but we are finding out that we are never alone.
Have a joyful Easter, and be ready to recognize The Miracle anew.