Easter is so central, we celebrate it as a festival unending for eight Sundays. From Easter (April 21) to Pentecost (June 9), we revel in the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
And yet, on every one of these eight Sundays, scripture will talk about death. That surprised me. Does this surprise you?
Maybe it’s obvious. Before being resurrected, Christ was crucified. Killed. So of course, death and Easter go together.
But do we live as if they go together?
The world around us wants all life and no death. For one, there’s how we talk about death. We don’t. When we do, it’s passed away, not dead or died. At funerals, we celebrate life and mourn death. But in planning a funeral no one has ever said to me, “I just really want to mourn dad’s death.”
Easter keeps talking both. It’s like, Ash Wednesday’s shocking honesty—"Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return”—is repeated each Sunday of Easter. How strange…and liberating!
We are lost if Jesus’ resurrection never meets real death that mocks us, takes our loved ones, and steals our courage. Finding death and Easter together might unsettle us. But exactly there is the promise of a complete upset: the victory of Christ over death, a victory shared with you: Christ the firstborn of the dead.
Saint Paul Lutheran Church
715 South Third Street
Clinton, IA 52732
(at the foot of the south bridge)