Easter was a big deal when I was growing up. Not only did I get a basket full of goodies when I got up on Sunday morning, there was also a brand new dress, nice white shoes, (which I only got to wear ‘til Labor Day) and an egg hunt with my friends and neighbors to look forward to. Mom and Dad went all out for our celebratory lunch after church, and we often took family pictures in the afternoon, with whatever relatives happened to be visiting that year. As a kid, it was a day I looked forward to for months, one that was almost as great as Christmas.
But this year Easter doesn’t seem that exciting. It comes on the heels of a beautiful Spring, where we see new life everywhere, yet in many ways it still feels like the middle of a long, dark season. In the past year, many of us have faced so much loss and heartache that we may find ourselves asking, what are we celebrating anyhow? It’s not that we don’t believe in Christ’s victory over sin and death anymore; it’s just that it’s been an awfully long time since Jesus came up from that grave, and it feels like nothing much has changed. After all, we face as many troubles in our daily lives as the men and women who walked with Jesus. Trials like inequality, sickness, hunger, violence, job loss, relationship struggles and persecution, not to mention the day to day battle of loving each other well.
Wednesday is the one day of holy week where we don’t really know what Jesus did. Church historians speculate that he spent the day in Bethany, at the home of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus, but we don’t know for sure who he talked to or what he spent any time doing on that day. As a result, Holy Wednesday is often called the Day of Silence.
There’s a song we sing at my church that says, “Even when I don’t see it you’re working, even when I can’t feel it you’re working. You never stop, never stop working. You never stop, never stop working.” The words are a good reminder for silent days, when we find ourselves searching for reasons to celebrate the truth we believe, even when it doesn’t feel true.
We might not know what Jesus did on Holy Wednesday, but we know that it was a necessary step on his path to the cross, that God was still working out his plan for our salvation, even if there’s no record of Jesus’ activity that day. Some seasons are like that as well. We may not see any visual evidence of God’s work in our lives, but that doesn’t mean a bud won’t show up tomorrow.
It reminds me of a short little poem by Wendell Berry, that goes like this:
The seed is in the ground.
Now may we rest in hope
While darkness does its work.
Trust the Waymaker today, even if it’s hard. He is with you in the darkness, even to the end of the age.