Easter isn’t over yet. We celebrate it for fifty days, ten longer than Lent.
Here’s an Easter homily I gave in 2007:
“Awesome, dude, the surfer said of the huge wave that was larger than life. “Totally awesome!” He was full of awe, full of wonder. He respected the sea; he revered it.
Something awesome is overwhelming, impressive, venerable, stately, moving, regal. Something wonderful is awe-inspiring, remarkable, amazing, astonishing, “unreal,” “unbelievable.” To wonder about something is to ponder, meditate, reflect, marvel at, think about something wonderful.
What are you in awe of? What do you wonder about?
Here are a few things to test your “Wonder Quotient.”
Ponder each one for a moment.
Have you ever sat in silence on a mountaintop, gazing at the stars?
. . . Have you ever wondered how many there are? How the earth stays in orbit?
. . . Have you ever wondered how our heart can keep beating nearly a billion times in a lifetime?
. . . How the Internet can call up the page you want in an instant from millions of pages?
. . . How God can keep track of the prayers of millions of people?
. . . How your dog knows what he knows?
. . . How a friend can love you as much as they do?
. . . How Christianity has survived for two thousand years?
. . . a surgeon can repair the heart, the size of a grape, of a child in the womb?
The act of wondering is not meant so much to understand something, as to be caught up in the mystery of it (the unknown, the unknowable), as the surfer was caught up in the mystery of the wave. A person who has no sense of wonder can have no spirituality. Wondering leads us to God, to the totally Other.
Have you ever wondered about the Resurrection of Jesus?
Have you ever wondered how we will rise with Jesus?
What eternal life will be like?
What the dawn of our share of eternity will be like?
Do you think it will be wonderful — awesome?
Do these things beckon you, call you?
The Risen Christ can draw us forward. We are called to ponder our future with the Lord. This means thinking about our death as well. Looking beyond our dying to our rising to eternal life. It means putting our life in order. This requires some reflection on our part. Some yearning, some joy, some wonder.
Here are the words of the ancient Easter proclamation, the dramatic beginning of the Easter liturgy.
Rejoice, heavenly powers! Sing, choirs of angels!
Exult all creation around God’s throne!
Jesus Christ, our King is risen!
Sound the trumpets of salvation.
Rejoice, O earth, in shining splendor,
Radiant in the brightness of your King!
Christ has conquered! Glory fills you!
Darkness vanishes forever!
Rejoice O Mother Church! Exult in glory!
The risen Savior shines upon you!
Let this place resound with joy,
Echoing the might song of all God’s people.
… the “Exultet” from the Easter Vigil liturgy
Easter does not begin with such exultation. The apostles and the women disciples were crestfallen and fearful. It took them a while to take in what was happening. Fifty days later they were still bewildered. So it is not surprising that many of us take some time before we ”exult” in the Risen Christ. Even for Jesus, he forever bears the marks of his wounds. Forever risen, he is also forever slain. The joy of Easter is powerful. It is so powerful it can penetrate suffering and sorrow and even persecution. It is the joy that lasts forever and does emerge in us from time to time to exult in exaltation. May you find that joy this Easter deep down in your heart.
The Risen Christ is the focus of our hope as Christians. In fact, no Resurrection, no Christianity. For some of us , we are filled with joy. Our lives are bright and airy and cheerful. For others of us, demonstrations of joy do not come easy. Nevertheless, believing steadfastly in risen life for Jesus and for us, gives us something powerful to hang on to. In the act of hoping is our joy!
“Hope springs eternal” is indeed a worthy and powerful statement.
Let us take the Resurrection personally this Easter. It is our greatest gift, the gift of our eternal life, the gift of our joy, our hope. Something awesome to wonder about.
Jesus is risen! Indeed he is risen!
Look for the signs of new life in the midst of your difficulties.
Take time to stop and wonder at the beauty of a delicate flower, the breeze caressing your face, the little things that make life worth living.
Expand your wonder quotient today.
Christ is risen!
priest / writer