Written by Jamie Lin
Illustrated by Marcella Chua
Saint John Paul II once said, “We are an Easter people and alleluia is our song!” When I first heard this, I was stumped. What does it mean to be an Easter person? What did it mean for alleluia to be my song? What did it mean for me to be an Easter person in the ordinary moments, or an Easter person during the bleakest moments of life? As the years have gone by since I first heard this quote, my understanding of the faith has matured and deepened through the different seasons of my life, and so too has my understanding of the term “Easter people”
To be an Easter person means to rejoice – to live in remembrance of Easter and what it means for us! Jesus’ death and resurrection on the cross 2000 years ago was a historical event, not a myth or a fairy-tale. It was an event that involved deep suffering when an innocent man was given the harshest sentence given to criminals. This deep suffering, however, has made room for even deeper joy. It is what allows Man across time and space to be able to call Jesus our Saviour and cry out to God our Father. Through the suffering, what sprang forth was mankind’s salvation – the joy of the resurrection. Joy is not based on our changing circumstances but is rooted in an unchanging God. This God remains with us through the changes that life brings, and toils alongside us as we transform into the people that He calls us to be through our unique callings and crosses. And through it all, we can have joy because we know that the ultimate battle has been won for us on the cross!
But of course, there is no Easter Sunday without a Good Friday. Inevitably, there will be struggles in our lives that cause us great pain or sorrow, and teach us important lessons. In the struggle, it might seem like God is silent or has abandoned us. Jesus experienced this sense of abandonment in the Garden of Gethsemane when He cried, “My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?” In the struggle, it will be difficult to believe God is for us and with us. But just as God was present with Jesus in His moments of doubt and weariness, so too is He with us in our pain. Each of us will have different crosses to carry, duties to fulfill, and people to become. Our faith will grow and mature, and the challenges we face will change too. The struggles we face will be unique to our stage of life, but what remains constant is God’s love and presence with us through it all. Living as a Christian disciple does not mean we are spared from pain and hurt, but if taken with the right disposition, can be the way through which God transforms us more fully.
There is also no Easter Sunday without Holy Saturday, our day of waiting in anticipation of the Lord’s resurrection. God does not speak to us only on the hills and in the valleys of our lives, but also when we are walking on ordinary paths. In fact, the most mundane moments of my life have been the ones that have required the most effort on my part to remain with the Lord, especially when He seems more hidden. Jesus Himself spent 33 years with His family in Nazareth before He began His public ministry. It was in those 33 ordinary years that He grew in His faith and learnt who He was in light of who the Father is before He set out to do the extraordinary. My life is made up mainly of simple moments that I tend to want to escape from, as I am always either reminiscing or worrying about the future. It has always been difficult for me to remain faithful to God in the present moment, to be patient as I wait on the Lord and what He has in store for me. What the Holy Family has taught me is to just show up every day, to have open hands and an open heart for whatever the Lord desires for me, and to trust that my transformation occurs even in the moments I don’t feel the change.
As we run this race and fight the good fight, we take comfort in the hope of our resurrected King, of the reality of Easter Sunday. We live in the knowledge and the hope that He gives to us – that for now, we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. “Now I know in part; then I shall understand fully, even as I have been fully understood” (1 Corinthians 13:12). Now, we wait in anticipation for the Lord to reveal Himself, knowing that He reveals Himself constantly to us through our everyday lives.
Dear friend, are you willing to take that leap of faith today, to hope in the Lord and His promises, believing that there is more?