Saturday, April 11, 2009

The Hope of Easter

This is Holy Week, and I wanted to write something about Easter, but it's also been a very busy week--even for an old retired lady. While looking through some of my writing files, I ran across this little Easter message. Most of my readers know that my mother suffered from dementia for about eighteen years at the end of her life, and I wrote this during the first year she lived in a nursing home.

On Easter Sunday, I joined nursing home residents and other family members for an afternoon worship service. From different religious backgrounds, we gathered, searching for God and something to celebrate.

Sitting next to my mother, whose mind can no longer grasp the familiar story, I thought about the early disciples at the time of Jesus’s crucifixion. Like the family members of these dementia patients, they had lost a precious, irreplaceable person. Their lives turned upside down, they were trying to imagine how they could possibly go on without Jesus.

Then, just when they were without hope, the miracle occurred. A stone rolled away. The power of God’s love overcame death and darkness. Jesus was alive!

From the time of Christ’s resurrection, Easter has offered the gift of hope. Surrounded by Easter lilies and singing the old Easter hymns, I did not hope for miraculous restoration of impaired minds. Rather, I hope that my stones of doubt and despair can roll away. I ask for assurance that God is here among us; I need confidence that love and faith are stronger than pain and loss. I dare to hope that even here, in this group of hurting people struggling to believe, Easter can still happen.

If this Easter finds you struggling with your own issues of doubt or despair, my wish is that you will find the hope of Easter.

I'll end with a bit of humor.

Have a happy, egg-filled, candy-filled, hope-filled Easter!

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