You Don’t Have to Earn Your Easter

There’s a moment in the Easter Vigil that’s always struck me as wrong.

We’ve kindled the new fire of Easter. We’ve lit and processed the Paschal Candle. Someone’s sung the Exultet. We’ve sat for an hour in the darkened church, lit only by candlelight, listening to stories from the Hebrew tradition – Creation, the Garden, Noah and the Flood, the Exodus, and my personal favorite – the Valley of Dry Bones.

Then, out of nowhere it seems, the celebrant simply stands up and says “Alleluia! Christ is risen!” The people reply, “The Lord is risen, indeed! Alleluia!” and the organ starts playing and the bright artificial lights get flipped on and the altar guild carries out flowers and butterflies and suddenly, willy nilly, Lent is over and it’s Easter, even though outside it’s the dark of the night.

This moment has always seemed so wrong to me. It’s felt abrupt and fake and WAY too easy. Shouldn’t you have to work for resurrection?, I think. Shouldn’t you have to earn it somehow?

Then, this year, I got it.

No, you do NOT have to work for resurrection.

Yes, it IS just this easy.

All you have to do to get resurrection is show up and turn on the lights.

The hard part for most of us, I think, is letting it be Easter.

All we need to do to get resurrection, to let Love Life God Whatever flow, is go to our tombs, the places where we keep our dead things, allow ourselves mercy, then let go. Love will do the rest.

Resurrection is easy. It’s also scares me, just like it scared Jesus’s followers that first Easter morning.

I know the contours of my tomb and the heft of my dead things – my wounds and my stories and my suffering – all too well. They’re familiar to me. I know who I am when I’m wrapped in them.

Who will I be without my wounds and stories and suffering?


Who will I be if I’m not forever trying and working and efforting?

Who is Easter me?

Who will resurrected you be?


This is perhaps the work of faith – to show Love to the door of our deadness, allow her access, and watch her transform the dead things into Life.

4 thoughts on “You Don’t Have to Earn Your Easter

  1. I appreciate the theology here and honesty about your previous feelings about the ceremony’s sudden exultation. By “fake” do you mean that you felt it was “theatrical?” If so, I would agree that the “He is Risen” color explosion is deeply theatrical in its abrupt performance of the change from darkened emptiness to light and fecundity. And in being theatrical the actions remind us that the original purpose of theatre in the Western tradition was to honor the gods…and then the God.

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