We have just completed an emotional period. Anna’s birthday, as many of our friends noted, was on March 29. Easter followed soon after on this past Sunday. So almost at once, we were reminded of the loss of our daughter and then given an opportunity to reflect on the resurrection of our Lord and our resulting resurrection.
Our faith as Christians is based on the resurrection. Paul says that without the resurrection our faith is in vain; if there is no resurrection we of all people are most to be pitied. Perhaps Peter had something like that in mind when he gave his list of virtues. He began with faith, adding virture upon virtue until he culminated with love. All for him began with and was built–to use the building metaphor favored by Peter–upon faith.
But faith, while it provides us a place to stand, a solid plac e on which to build, does not always provide a salve for the emotions. That is why the wiping away of tears, the elimination of sickness and death, is reserved for the book of Revelation. Tears, sickness, and death will be taken away. but not yet. And that is okay. It must be.
The date of Easter changes evey year. With one nod each to the earth’s annual orbit around the sun, the moon’s monthly orbit around the earth, and the seven-day week ordained by our Lord, Easter occurs on the first Sunday after the first full moon after the first day of spring. So if the beginning of spring is followed immediately by a full mon and then Sunday, Easter could be just a day or two after the beginning of spring in late March. If, however, those events are out of order, then Easter could be dlayed up to about five weeks after the beginning of spring, or late April.
Among the many gracious things that happened in the events surrounding Anna’s death (and indeed there was grace among the ruins), this one fact has a sort of cruel irony to it: that Anna’s death, coming on May 7, is safely out of reach of Easter every year. Therefore, we will always have the remembrance of Anna’s death to look ahead to after we celebrate the resurrection on Easter.
But perhaps even there we can find grace at work. Perhaps God, knowing our weakness and our propensity to mourn, has provided that we would always have a fresh vision of the resurrection to fortify our spirits as we approach the difficulties of May 7.
Maybe God is not so mean after all.