Yesterday I realized that I will not have Easter this year. I am currently in Ethiopia, and they are on the Orthodox calendar, which places Easter one week later than the one in North America, which is on April 1st. Since our flight plans involve heading home on Saturday, April 7th, I will experience Good Friday with Ethiopian Christians but will be on a series of flights on their Easter, April 8th.
This situation has made me imagine living on the other side of Easter. How would I be different if I did not know the resurrected Jesus? How might my worldview be darkened by existing only on the other side of Good Friday? What if I were left, forever, at the foot of the cross, never hearing of the empty tomb?
This reflection has brought me to a deep fullness as I realize how good it is to be an Easter Monday Christian in a world that seems to be stuck in Good Friday darkness.
Most recently, I have borne witness to the transformation of the cross and empty tomb through the testimonies given at the Trauma Healing Institute’s Community of Practice. World Renew is a leading partner with the American Bible Society as we seek to tend to people affected by trauma around the globe. The power of Christ’s sacrifice and triumph over death gives powerful hope in lives destroyed through tragedy. The resurrected Christ can heal the wounds of any heart; in fact, it is the reason for His incarnation and suffering.
The theme, “Trauma and Healing Through Generations,” tackled a most difficult reality of the cyclical nature of unaddressed trauma - it is passed from generation to generation. Together, we considered the trauma of slavery, still realized in the United States through broken families, domestic violence, addictions, and mass incarceration. We heard of the persecution and excommunication of women accused of witchcraft in Uganda and the stigma carried through generations of their families. Stories were recounted of revenge and “honor killings” carried out in the Middle East. I was asked to speak about how the 20 generations of trauma and oppression experienced by indigenous people of Turtle Island (North America) still affects my people, the Navajo, today.
Yet, even in the seemingly never-ending darkness of these realities, Christ’s Easter morning light breaks through! Between Good Friday and Easter Sunday, there is Holy Saturday, where the tomb is still occupied and our hearts grieve for the unjust killing of the innocent. This year, I urge you to let your heart linger in that space, aware of the deep divide that sin strives to retain between you and God. Hold, in your heart, those who do not know that Easter morning light can penetrate and transform the wounds of their hearts.
Then, experience the bright dawn of Easter morning. The new life Christ brings to all peoples, of all nations, tribes, and tongues. Rejoice in knowing that the risen Christ heals all wounds; even the traumas passed on from generation to generation can be broken through the power of the empty tomb. I have heard the testimony of transformation through World Renew’s work in trauma healing - and it is nothing short of miraculous! The Spirit of God is at work, moving across thirsty lands, searching for God’s beloved children, finding the driest of bones, and renewing lives!
Christ is risen! He is risen, indeed!
World Renew US
PHOTO TOP: Easter Sunrise service at Rehoboth Cemetery, New Mexico
PHOTO CREDIT: John Van’t Land