Every Easter morning, no matter the weather, we drive up the mountain to get above the valley we live in, above the fog that seeks to ground us and the rising sun, coming from its hiding place. It’s a tradition for us, stretching back to when my first daughter was just an infant and had to be bundled in so many protective layers to keep warm. We gather with others from our community and build a fire, sing some songs, watch the sun go through its colors. We read the familiar Scriptures about the women at the tomb and the race to tell the others, and then we climb back into our vehicles and trek down to our homes to get ready for real church, where we are dressed up and sitting properly in our seats.
Part of the joy of this Easter tradition is that we are insiders to a great mystery. Like Mary at the tomb, we’re the first ones to see the day, and we celebrate the resurrection by seeing a miracle in the goodness that is ours every day—the sun came up and we were witnesses; the clouds are real, physical things that we can’t hold, but we see them; the whole world looks beautiful when we get a look from above. Miracles and mystery and everyday things all combine, and we are grounded in this resurrection life that both calls us to run and tell, and also to sit and savor.
We often don’t believe what God has said, but we believe what He shows us. On Easter mornings, we climb out of the dailyness of our lives to see something new—or rather, to see something common in a new way. The tradition of our sunrise service reminds us that something out of the ordinary happened, something that is the hinge for all our faith and the hope of our own resurrection.
Then we go back to ordinary life.
This is the kind of people we are, as Christians. All of us are living an ordinary life that requires ordinary things out of us—make the meals, clean the things, drive to the places, care for the people and do the work. We are living and breathing the same kind of life as those around us who don’t drive to mountaintops or places of worship to celebrate miracles, who miss a resurrected life and live only once. We want to be extraordinary, to live outside of the trap of time and space, but ordinary life requires so much from us and we forget.
Maybe what resurrection really calls for is that every day be a remembrance. Every crawl out of bed is the resurrection to a new day. Every task repeated from the monotony of quotidian life is the bearing-again of everything that gives life or is the result of living. The cleaning up, the putting away and getting out again, the daily opening and closing of books and doors and laptops can be a resurrection and a remembrance: we are not ordinary people, and this is not an ordinary life. We faithfully repeat the same things as we practice rising again, and again, and again.
Let’s all rise up, everyone walk out of the grave of an old, ordinary life, and walk into something new, something that confounds everything that is against us. Let’s put away the old life and the old man—every moment if we have to—in order to live this resurrection in the kingdom that is now. We get to do this again. We get to walk with Jesus in His resurrected hope and we get to repeat the same things until they are real, until the clouds are at our feet and the sun never hides again and every fire is His glory.
How might this ordinary life be a surprise resurrection?
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