If you were in Greece for Easter and saw someone as you were out for a walk or on your way to church, you wouldn’t be greeted with ‘good morning’ or even ‘happy Easter.’ Instead, you would be greeted with, ‘Christos anesti!’ – ‘Christ is risen!’ and you’d respond, ‘Alithenos anesti!’ – ‘He is risen, indeed!’
In our little church, one of our annual traditions is to say it three times, led by our celebrant. He’ll start softly: “Christ is risen.” We respond softly for the first antiphon, then louder on the second time. Finally on the third time, we are in full voice, just shy of a shout when we respond, “He is risen, indeed!”
One of the gifts of our faith (and some others as well) is the practice of following the circles and cycles of the liturgical year, season in and season out. I’ve noticed my response varies, depending what’s going on in the seasons of my own life.
I like going to the Ignatian prayer that suggests reading the scripture, imagining where I would find myself in the story (last time I did this with the story of the Prodigal Son in a small group, most people identified with one of the two sons. Not me: I found myself identifying with the pig! I like to think God found that at least mildly amusing; I know I did! But that's another story for another time!). :-)
Some years I identify with Mary at the empty tomb: first confused and wondering where Jesus could be – and then recognizing Him in an unexpected place. (“Supposing him to be the gardener…”) How often am I so preoccupied with my own situation that I don’t recognize Jesus when He’s right in front of me – even if he’s disguised as a neighbor or friend, the cashier at Trader Joe’s, or someone who needs to talk with me when I’m distracted with something else?
And some years I’m one of the guys – literally – one of His apostles, full of worry and grief and hiding out from Him (though they think they are hiding out from the authorities!).
All I can do – and I think all that God asks – is to show up faithfully and regularly, bringing all of myself – delights & worries, joys & fears, accomplishments & mistakes, my loves & irritants – to the One who knows them all and loves me anyway.
My intention for you as I write this: May the Easter season brings you closer to the Lord and to the people you love – and the people you need to love.
...and as always, wishing you every blessing!