On the coffee table of our living this morning sit ten baskets full of candy and goodies awaiting our ten kids to stumble out from their bedrooms with the joy that a holiday morning brings. Eggs filled with little bits of candy have been hidden all around the home to be discovered. Soon, we will gather together for church, and then we will partake together in a big family meal of ham, potatoes, stuffing, green beans, deviled eggs, and yummy dessert.

It’s Easter Sunday.

Outside of our home all the city parks have been shut down, playgrounds wrapped in police tape. The groceries we received for today’s meal were delivered to us by a couple people in a Toyota Prius wearing masks and gloves, to protect both themselves and us.

Inside our home there are no Easter dresses being worn for the church service. We will be watching the service on the TV from our couch. We won’t be gathering with any other families or participating in any community Easter egg hunts.

It’s a global pandemic.

Earlier in the week it was nearly ninety degrees outside. It was almost too hot out in the early spring sun. Some thunderstorms blew through already this morning, the temperature is rapidly dropping, and according to the local meteorologists it could potentially snow up to five inches today.

The daffodils, tulips, and forsythias proudly announced their arrival this past week. And today their fragile boldness gets challenged with the contrasting beauty of snow.


In our desire and grasping for certainty in the midst of a frustratingly ambiguous and mysterious world, we find that there is only one thing we can truly be certain of — death. Some might also say suffering is a certainty, but that’s in its own way a small death, and life is full of small deaths.

Within the Christian tradition the season of Lent is one that creates space to reflect on our mortality. It gives permission to admit that sometimes life is really hard, that we are constantly bombarded by little deaths, confronted with the monsters that hide around and in us. We do our best to see the spark of divinity in each person and in ourselves, and yet we are let down when we recognize just how weak we are despite our best intentions.

The forty days of Lent are meant to be a symbol of the forty days Jesus spent in the Judaean wilderness. For forty days those who follow Lent abstain from things that give them pleasure, often replacing those things with prayer, silence, or healthier habits.

The last week of Lent is often called Holy Week. Holy Week starts on Palm Sunday in which the people of Israel, who had gathered to celebrate Passover later in the week, assumed that Jesus was going to come rescue them from the Roman government’s influence and rule. Crowds gathered together presuming he had come to deliver them as Israel’s true king.

Like this story, the rest of the events of Holy Week are full of multi-layered meaning and irony. And it all marches forward to the betrayal, sham trial, and eventual murder of Jesus.


According to the Bible, on the day of Jesus’ death the people did not recognize the reality of what was happening before their very eyes. Through their own religious and political greed for power, they blinded themselves to what they were participants in. And they knew not what they had done.

But the earth refused to let this moment in history go unnoticed. The story goes that while Jesus was on the cross, the sky grew dark, almost as if it were night. At the moment of Jesus’ death, at his last breath, there were claps of thunder, the ground shook until even some of the graves gave up their dead. Boulders split. The veil in the temple split in two, from top to bottom.

The earth shook and rumbled and forced everyone into a standstill and demanded their attention. Clearly something significant had occurred and life would never be the same. But what exactly was going on? And what did that mean for them all going forward?

Over the last couple months this Earth has again shaken us, sometimes quite literally. Most of this shaking has happened during the season of Lent. Many of our routines have come to a standstill. The sins of our time aren’t so different than two-thousand years ago — the thirst for power and influence, the desire and worship of extreme wealth, the slavery of our profit-minded culture that blatantly takes advantage of the most vulnerable and underprivileged in our midst. Technology has allowed to prioritize efficiency over health, and to suffer in a world of scarcity and hurried living.

It feels like the Earth is again revolting, using the microscopic agent of Covid-19 to demand our attention. And on this Easter day we are challenged with many of the same questions. What exactly is going on? And what does it all mean for us going forward? And who are we choosing to listen to?


But Easter isn’t about Jesus’ death, that’s what is observed on Good Friday. Easter is about Jesus’ resurrection, in which Jesus arose from the grave after three days.

It’s a direct challenge to what we know, that one thing we can all be certain of — death. Easter’s challenge is to pay attention to the hints of resurrection all around us. Easter dares us to have faith that death, although certain to come, isn’t the end of the story. Life still pushes through. Even during a pandemic.


One of my favorite songwriters, John Mark McMillan recently wrote a song which highlights the unstoppable persistence of life.

It’s a song called “Juggernaut”:

Blossoms dress the trees
Spring without permission rages on again
The ruckus that she brings
A juggernaut, stimulating merciless
In a show of power

Life
Life is heavy but it just won’t stop
Life
Life is fragile but it won’t give up
It cries for us
Listen to the voice of your Maker now
Hear the one who calls to all
You don’t know how to be but now you will
Life
Life is heavy but it just won’t stop
Life
Life is fragile but it won’t give up

Everywhere I see
The hot parade of light in the oblivion
The spectacle careens
A juggernaut relentless and unstoppable
In a show of force

Life
Life is heavy but it just won’t stop
Life
Life is fragile but it won’t give up
It cries for us
Listen to the voice of your Maker now
Hear the one who calls to all
You don’t know how to be but now

We go on in the shadow of the moment
We roll on in the power of the morning
We go on in the shadow of the moment
We roll on and we all carry on
We go on in the shadow of the moment
We roll on in the power of the morning
We go on in the shadow of the moment
We roll on and we all carry on

Life
Life is heavy but it just won’t stop
Life
Life is fragile but it won’t give up

It cries for us
Listen to the voice of your Maker now
Hear the one who calls to all
You don’t know how to be but now


This song is strangely relevant to our time. I’ve found myself listening to this song nearly everyday.

The coming snow challenges the boldness of the blossoms today, and Covid-19 challenges us to confront the shortcomings of our current culture. And even though the threat of death surrounds us right now, we have the option to take a step back and choose to believe that Spring — that life — is a juggernaut and it can’t be stopped.

The world has forever changed.
But life is persistent.

Happy Easter, everyone!

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