As someone who grew up in the church, I should have noticed long ago. I have mentioned it in my sermons on Easter Sunday. I have written about it in Easter letters and church newsletter articles. But I don’ think I grasped it until this year.
Our Easter celebrations are full of light, joy, and praise. After the long season of Lent we are ready. And there is joy in the stories of the Resurrection —
“ So they left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples.” (Matthew 28:8 NRSV).
But far more of the Resurrection seems tinged with fear, doubt, amazement, confusion:
“While they were talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” They were startled and terrified, and thought that they were seeing a ghost.” (Luke 24:36-37 NRSV)
So they went out and fled from the tomb, for terror and amazement had seized them; and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid. (Mark 16:8 NRSV)
Now I don’t want to be a kill-joy in the post-Easter glow. But Easter troubles me. If God can overturn death, what else might God overturn? If my expectation that the dead lie quietly in their graves is wrong, about what else am I wrong? If God has upset what is set, then what might happen now? Perhaps that is the point.