Easter 2022


He is risen!
He is risen indeed!

We exclaim it today, boldly and loudly and confidently, as we should. This core belief of Christianity spills over into our hope that we too will be resurrected to live in eternity with our Savior. In the meantime, the life of the Christ-follower is full of deaths and resurrections, as if it’s practice for the grand finale. We actually need these in order to mature faithfully. Yet sometimes the waiting in the darkness is unspeakably long. And we discover in these moments the blessing of the very few who are comfortable enough to sit in it with us.

I’ll go to church today and lead worship and read scripture and sing and dedicate babies and pray and do all the things. It will be richly meaningful for me and for many. There will also be a poignant, unspoken pain carried by so many, in attendance and not. A large swath of us who are like Israel—a name that literally means “God-wrestlers.” A whole bunch of people who will celebrate resurrection, and who believe they will be resurrected eventually, but who in the meantime wonder: will I taste any of it before then?

Does God see me now? Does God care now? Does God resurrect now?

Inspired by Nadia Bolz-Weber’s writing on the Beatitudes, may this rendition bring fresh hope to any of you who wrestle with resurrection today. (Full credit to NBW as some of these phrases are her words).

Blessed are the doubters.
Blessed are the deconstructers…the ones courageous enough to dig and learn and to ask uncomfortable questions and discover truth and now possess a deeper faith, but one that has pushed them to the outside.
Blessed are the ones who have nothing to offer, or who have been made to feel that way.
Blessed are the preschoolers who made too much noise in the service, who cut in line at communion and who ask to eat the rest of it at the end.
Blessed are those who won’t leave their seat to come forward for Eucharist because they feel unworthy.
Blessed are those who feel unworthy but come anyway.
Blessed are the poor in spirit.
You are of heaven and Jesus blesses you.

Blessed are those who are overlooked. The ones who are passed over for the promotion. Again. The ones chosen last for the team. The senior with no scholarship offers. The second-string athlete who never gets to play. Blessed is the student who does her best but is never called upon. The one who has much to offer, and yet everyone else is asked for their expertise. Blessed are those not stylish enough or attractive enough or wealthy enough to be acknowledged. Blessed are the closeted. Blessed are the ones who are out and are confronted by those who are too uncomfortable to receive them. Blessed are you who could say #metoo but think no one would believe you. Blessed are the teens who have to figure out how to hide the fresh cuts on their arms.

Blessed are the exhausted, from the single parent to the student paying her way through college to senior citizen caring for a spouse who no longer recognizes him. Blessed is the chemo patient wondering if these treatments are worth it. Blessed is the nursing home patient who only gets an occasional family visitor. Blessed are you who are part of the Church but wonder if yours would notice if you were gone.
Blessed are you who have to help others process your grief.
Christ sees you. You are of heaven and Jesus blesses you.

Blessed are the meek. Blessed are you who are underpaid and who exist among those with plenty. Blessed are the political refugees, the religious refugees, the ones abandoned by families and the ones who are fleeing countries. Blessed are you of whom too much is expected. Christ sees you. You are of heaven and Jesus blesses you.

Blessed are you who have loved deeply enough to know what loss feels like.

Blessed are the mothers of the miscarried. Blessed are those who want to be mothers but who have not be afforded the opportunity. Blessed are the fathers who want to reconcile with their sons but don’t know how. Blessed are those who can’t fall apart because they have to hold it together for everyone else’s sake. Blessed are the traumatized, who carry unresolved shock and pain in their bodies under a façade of “I’m fine.” Blessed is the addict who wishes he could deal with pain rather than numb it. Blessed are those who “still aren’t over it yet.” Blessed are you who’ve been man-splained or white-splained, and who have no words left. Blessed are those who mourn, those who grieve and wonder if they will ever grow around it.

Blessed are you who long for peace but continually find yourself embroiled in controversy.

Blessed are you who wait for resurrection and wonder if it’s really coming.
Christ sees you. You are of heaven and Jesus blesses you.

He is risen indeed. And so shall you be.