I want to run.
I want to be like Peter, the disciple who ran for the tomb on the third day. The one who leaned in to the emptiness and believed.
“Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.” So Peter went out with the other disciple, and they were going toward the tomb. Both of them were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. And stooping to look in, he saw…” (John 20: 1-5)
I read the story of the Resurrection and cheer Peter on. My soul runs with him, toward the hope that I know is there… because I know the story so well. Because I love happy endings and want one for Peter- whose floundering faith reminds me so much of my own.
In that story, in that moment in history, I’m all in. I’m racing Peter to the tomb.
But in my story, on the days that aren’t Easter… not so much.
When death threatens a relationship, I lock myself up tight and retreat. I shut down and convince myself that death is the end. I ran with Peter on Easter, but bolt the doors today.
When darkness brings anxiety, I busy myself. I grab for life’s spices – trying to make the stenches of life smell sweet. I cover up the aroma and pretend death is manageable. I ran with Peter on Easter, but I’m clenching my fists today.
When accusations bring shame, I walk fast and run my mouth. I explain, deny, and pretend death has no business in my story. I ran with Peter on Easter, but I take a wide girth around the tomb today.
When waiting brings doubt, I wring my hands and wander. My eyes play tricks on me, my ears block out the truth, and I believe death holds the power. I ran with Peter on Easter, but I fall faint on the ground today.
I believe in the power of the Resurrection on Easter, but I’m filled with doubt on Easter Monday, on Tuesdays in May, and especially on Thursdays in the dead of winter.
Much of the time, the glory of Easter seems too distant. I squint, but I can’t make it out. I strain to hear, but can’t. It’s much too far away to run there.
But the good news isn’t contained in a tomb. The hope of Easter extends way beyond the Easter lilies. The beauty lasts way longer than our Easter finery, and the songs continue long after all of our singing has faded away.
Easter is not only for those who are strong enough to run.
Jesus knocks on the door of those who shut themselves away. My door. He enters into my space and breathes life on my pain.
Jesus greets visitors outside the tomb. He greets me there. He allows me to embrace Him long enough so I can empty my hands and believe.
Jesus meets the walkers and talkers on the road. He meets me. He matches my pace and redirects my conversation so I don’t wander too far.
Jesus pursues the doubters. He pursues me. He takes my trembling hand and presses it into His healing wounds so I’ll know.
He knows I can’t always run with the hope of Easter. He knows – and brings Easter to me.
Are you still celebrating Easter? If so, rejoice in today’s grace to run. Run with joy and celebrate in the light.
Or does the joy and light of Easter seem far away? If that’s the case, listen for His knocking, drop whatever your holding, stand still and quiet, and watch for Easter to come to you.
He’ll bring it to you, so you’ll know once again.
“I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25-26)