Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Easter - Celebration and Reality

This is a love letter.

First, this is a love letter to my G-d, the Creator and Lord of the universe. I wouldn't be writing this without his presence in my life. All honor and glory to him, for ever and ever.

Second, this is a love letter to my wife.

Easter, as a holiday, has come and gone. We're now in the first week of Eastertide, barely inside the front door, as it were. What we celebrate at Easter, the holiday, and during Eastertide, is the resurrection of our Lord Jesus the Messiah from death. Rebirth, regeneration, renewal - these are themes that are always present during this time of year.

On the afternoon of Easter Sunday, April 8, 2012, my wife and five other people landed in Liberia, on the west coast of Africa, to go on pilgrimage. For two weeks they will be taking part in supporting Dignity:Liberia, a ministry that helps women in Liberia affected with a medical condition called fistula.

I am in awe of my wife. She is not a person with medical training - she's a former chef, and a current romance writer. She's been published, and she's got more books on the way. But that's not why I'm in awe of her.

She had wanted to go to Venice. She wanted this a lot. But she heard a small, insistent voice that said, "I need you to go to Liberia." She heard a call.

She tried to make excuses. It didn't work. It was about as successful as Moses' repeated excuses as to why he wasn't the right person to go down to Egypt. The small, insistent voice remained.

She answered the call, reluctantly. She put her trip to Venice on hold. She made the preparations that the pilgrimage to Liberia required. She got the shots. She filled out the paperwork. She got the financing together. She did the necessary things.

On Holy Saturday, she boarded a plane in Kansas City, and flew eastward. She doesn't like to fly. It didn't matter.

She landed in Monrovia the afternoon of Easter Sunday. The pilgrimage had begun.

The point of all this is to celebrate the reality of Easter, of Eastertide. A person who had plans to do one thing, did another, because of a call. The call was powerful. The call was irresistible.

The reality of Easter is that renewal and regeneration and taking on new things happens. It's the way that the Gospel is lived out. It's the pilgrim path that Christians throughout the ages have trod.

I wasn't called to Liberia. I have felt other callings, though, and I have answered them. I don't know what the next will be. I know that I am unable to resist them.

Easter lives in us, through us, in a multitude of ways. Easter becomes a way of life. It becomes life itself.

And that's my Easter story, my Easter love letter. What's yours?

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