“They Have Taken The Lord Away”
Easter like Christmas, is full of symbols: empty tombs with angels around, soldiers falling down helplessly, eggs, lilies, empty crosses on the Calvary hill. Why is this so ?
Whenever we touch a truth too intense for words, we use symbols. We cry, we dance. We sing and chant. We paint and sculpt. Colors, sounds, touch, movement; our senses convey our deepest feelings more powerfully than words do.
Life and death are our deepest experiences and the last seven days of Holy Week have all been about them. Death, suffering, humiliation, betrayal, torture – Jesus has been through it all. All that we feel bitter about, he has been there before. But death is not the final word, life is. Life – being born, reborn, renewed, healed, made whole, given growth, given insight, given power, given abundance. This is what life in the Spirit is all about, this is what Easter is about. It surpasses our ability to express it entirely in words.
Easter is the life of God’s Spirit within us -- recognised, exercised, enjoyed in all abundance.
Easter is the conviction that this divine life is ours for the asking and the taking. Once given at baptism, this Spirit is not taken back, even if it lies dormant for years on end like the ugly duckling who did not know it was a swan, or the barnyard chicken unaware it was really an eagle. Once given, it is there and can be actualized like a sudden power, transforming life out of all expectation. This is the empowerment and sense of abundance that Easter brings.
The first gift of the Spirit is absence of fear.
The angel spoke to the women: do not be afraid. And Jesus said to his apostles on Easter Sunday: Do not be afraid. It is I, not a ghost.
“Do not be afraid.” The self-confidence which comes to you because all your sins have been forgiven, and God holds nothing against you any more. No demons from the past will ever
haunt you again. Peace, harmony, integration and fulfillment are yours for ever.
So now we can enjoy the abundance of the Spirit’s gifts. Enjoy the charisms. Glory in the fruits of the Spirit – courage, peace, generosity, joy. Taste and experience how varied and deep is the Christian experience. “The Risen Lord is Spirit.” This is what the Spirit is, a pledge of even greater things to come.
Our response is just one word: Alleluia ! Praise the Lord!
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