easter hope(less)

kathyescobar advent & lent, faith shifts, healing 24 Comments

ring the bells that still can ring

it’s easter week. a little hard to believe because it seems like yesterday we were talking about christmas and how hard it can be. i am one of those people who like easter. even though my faith has shifted in all kinds of ways, the beauty and power of the resurrection story resonates deeply in my heart. embracing life as a series of fridays-saturdays-and-sundays has helped me over the years and i think that being born again and again is part of our ongoing work to become better human beings and less divided.

at the same time, i realize this time of year is so freaking hard for so many people.

i wrote when easter is hard in about 30 minutes last year and it stirred up a lot of strong feelings. this holiday used to be so many people’s very favorite, the trophy of a strong and vibrant faith.  then, when things fell part and the pillars of our faith crumbled, it has become a place of pain & sorrow & loneliness.

for many,

it feels like a party’s going on that we’re no longer invited to.

we can’t sing the songs because we don’t even know what those words mean anymore.

we know we can’t just go sit in church and listen to a salvation message because we might crawl out of our skin.

we are 100% sure we won’t be responding with “he is risen, indeed” because it feels forced.

we won’t be on facebook on sunday because we will be perpetually annoyed.

we want to feel hope & joy & life but we aren’t sure it comes through this holiday anymore and don’t want to fake it.

we have family members who are praying for us to come to church with them this sunday and we want to honor them but at the same time aren’t quite sure we can stomach it.

some have let go of Jesus in ways that used to feel so good and kind of miss him.

many others are trying to hold on to Jesus in a pure & authentic way but all of the hubub around easter is messing with that.

some are lonely.

some are tired.

and so many would love to feel the stirrings of new life again.

we’re all in different places on this and i am sure you could add so many other things to the list. as a pastor on the fringes, i always feel the crazy tension of this week and am glad to be part of a community that somehow does the best it can to celebrate resurrection and respect that so many of us are in weird places on it. at the same time, i know that many refuge friends sit in our wild & crazy church and feel the same feelings on that list.

easter is just really hard when we’re in the midst of or on the other end of a faith shift.

the earth has tilted and we are wobbling to find our space and our bearings.

part of the easter story is the promise of new life. that out of death & suffering & lament, new life emerges. i believe that story is being told in so many right now–our faith stripped away, we are living in the darkness and grief of all that was lost.  it can seem like a perpetual winter, like we’re stuck in friday’s death & saturday’s lament.  

but here’s what i truly believe in every part of my soul–spring will come.

spring is coming.

we may not feel it yet. the ground is still hard and frozen, but underneath the surface are seeds that are growing in the darkness. seeds of a free-er faith, seeds of a simpler faith, seeds of hope that God is bigger than we have been taught, seeds of life and hope and joy and mercy and love and peace and courage and beauty.

our shoots all pop up at different times and in different ways.

for some, easter isn’t as hard this year as it was the last. that’s something to celebrate!  for others, the shoots are so fragile, and you need to be extra gentle with yourself and tend carefully to the beautiful & tender hope that is trying to emerge. and for others, it just feels so freaking sad and you’re reading this thinking that winter will last forever.

we have a saying at the refuge that my dear friend tami coined–sometimes when we don’t have hope, we have to borrow it from each other.  this easter, if you are hanging on by a thread, my hope to lend is that it won’t always feel this hard.

i never expect that people will be able to sit in an easter service without breaking out in hives, although that’s definitely a bonus.

but my persistent hope is that over time all of us would feel more alive, more free, more loved, more loving, more connected, more peace, more passion, more hope, more resurrection over time.

yeah, i do believe easter always comes, in unique & surprising & unexpected & beautiful ways, but maybe not with all the hoop-la and bells and whistles, and probably not only on march 31st.   there are 364 other days in the year, and i’m really glad for that.

my heart is with you as you grieve what has died, as you celebrate what is starting to coming to life, as you thaw and find your way through this season.

with love and hope, kathy