He is not here! He has risen! -- Matthew 28:6
The date for Easter is set by the moon and the movement of the natural world. The symbols are lovely -- blooming flowers, painted eggs -- but natural things can only point toward the miracle.
Easter is pure miracle: today what we prayed for since Ash Wednesday comes true.
Thomas Merton wrote this on Ash Wednesday, 1950, as he lived in strong Easter hope:
The flu has not left me and my head is full of glue and I can't breathe and I am worried that my neighbors in choir may finally become completely exasperated at my snorting. And yet Ash Wednesday is full of joy. In a minute we will sing and go barefoot to get ashes on our head to remember, with great relief, that we are dust. God is all our joy and in God our dust can become spender. The great sorrow of humankind is turned to joy by the love of Christ, and the secret of happiness is no longer to see any sorrow except in the light of Christ's victory over sorrow... Thus I sit here in the corner of the upstairs Scriptorium and look out the window... at my own little happy corner of the sky.
Today, dust becomes splendor.
Christ is risen! The Lord is risen indeed! -- Hope Morgan Ward
Prayer: Risen Christ, raise us to fullness of life so that we may serve you with faith, courage and joy. Live in us, so that we may live in you. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, we pray. Amen.
Hope Morgan Ward is the resident bishop of the Mississippi Conference of The United Methodist Church.