The long journey through Lent is over. We’ve walked with Jesus to the cross and seen him rise from the grave.
Every time we walk this path it’s a little bit different. We are a little bit different.
The only typical part of my journey this year was that first day of Lent when I brushed my bangs aside and let my forehead be marked with a cross of ash. The rest of this Lent I’ve danced that dual truth—that I am dust, and that I am His—in a way quite different than other years. I didn’t make it through a Lenten devotional. I struggled to enter the Passion narratives. And on Easter Sunday as I heard the trumpets shouting “Christ the Lord is risen today” and I proclaimed with the church around the world “He is risen indeed!”, I found my heart too numb to ring with joy.
I lived the first half of Lent in the womb of God, the second being a baby. The refrain that echoed through my Easter day was a child’s lullaby:
Hush my dear, lie still and slumber,
Holy angels guard thy bed.
Heavenly blessings without number
Gently falling on thy head.” (Isaac Watts)
Pastor Darrell spoke of the two angels in the empty tomb of Jesus, one where his head had lain and one at his feet, just like the angels that rested at the two ends of the mercy seat on the ark of the covenant. “There”—at the mercy seat formed by the crucified and risen body of Jesus— “I will meet with you.” (Ex 25:22) There—on this strange bed guarded by angels—I can rest.
I smelled my fellow pilgrim before I saw him, a young man walking down the aisle about ten minutes before the end of the service. Had he just remembered it was Easter? He knew he needed to come near.
He walked in and sat for a moment in the end of a pew about six from the front, placed his cardboard box with a few belongings in the aisle beside him. He glanced around, saw, perhaps, the trays of little squares of bread being passed along the aisle. What was going on? Was he too late?
There was a table at the front, pastors waiting behind it. Leaving his seat, the man went forward, stood uncertainly a few feet from the table. How to receive the blessing he longed for?
An usher came and stood with him, asked, perhaps, whether he could help him. And then the pilgrim was kneeling before one of the pastors.
The encounter lasted only a moment before he stood and, reclaiming his cardboard box, headed back out the door. But I had seen myself kneeling there at the table in blue jeans and old sneakers, seen the welcome and felt the risen Lord touch my shoulder. I was confused; He smiled on me. I longed for His love; He touched me.
It is finished and He has done it and no matter whether I come singing hallelujah or dancing lament, wearing a new Easter dress or ancient blue jeans, I am His and He is mine and nothing can separate me from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Heavenly blessings without number gently falling on my head.
Taking it deeper:
What does it mean for you that it is finished and you can come as you are and rest in God’s love?
For those who have been following the Lenten “Dust you are” series of posts, is there something from this dusty journey through Lent that you’d like to take with you as you continue the journey with Jesus beyond the tomb, some new way of loving Him—and receiving His love—with your body as well as your soul?