I still remember like it was yesterday, walking up to the blown out window of my grandparents’ house. It was a month after Hurricane Katrina drowned my hometown of New Orleans. What was left of their house and everything they owned sat in an abandoned neighborhood just a few blocks from one of the major levee breaches. It seemed hopeless, like everything was lost. I was standing in front of a home that used to be filled with the life, energy, memories, and experiences of my childhood; now, it had been filled with nine feet of standing water and a thick layer of mud. It was dead.
Three days ago, as a Church, we stood before the cross where Jesus hung on the nails and breathed his last breath. Three days ago, we wept before the tomb as his dead body was laid to rest, the entrance sealed with a bolder. Three days ago, our hope, our life, our Savior was dead. But suddenly, on this Easter Sunday, we awaken to find that he is risen. In a swift turn of events, everything that was lost in his dying is now restored and made new in his rising!
In today’s second reading, St. Paul tells us, “If then you were raised with Christ, seek what is above…Think of what is above, not of what is on earth” (Col 3:1-2). As we enter into the joy of this Easter season, we remember that it wasn’t so long ago we were standing before the tomb. Perhaps on this Easter Sunday, we even find within our own hearts, our own lives, our own relationships and situations, that things seem pretty much the same today as they did yesterday. Maybe our subjective experience of Easter points us to a hard reality that life hasn’t seemed to change overnight.
What can we make of this? St. Paul reassures us that the sacrifice and resurrection of Christ reaches into all of our lives, into all of our situations, effective immediately. In fact, everything we have on earth could be lost, but if we are raised with Christ, we have no need of anything else. Our life has been not only spared, but made new. When we begin to live in the reality of the Resurrection instead of the idea of it, we will see that, one piece at a time, Christ restores everything we’ve lost and gives us new life.
I drove by my grandparents’ neighborhood just this past week. Their house has long since been demolished, and they were blessed to relocate to Denver. As I passed their old lot where a new house has been built, I could see toys scattered in the front yard and a minivan in the driveway. My heart was filled with joy to see the stone rolled away from that “tomb”. Behold, he makes all things new.
This Easter let us fix our eyes on Christ who is risen and who is above! We at The Vigil Project have been praying with the words of Psalm 51, “Restore in me the joy of your salvation.” We invite you to join us in praying through this Easter season for a true renewal, restoration, and resurrection within our own lives and the life of the world.
Greg Boudreaux is a musical artist who writes and records with his wife Lizzy as part of “The Vigil Project”. With an aim to offer an experience of deep prayer during the liturgical seasons, they, along with the rest of the team, have released a Series of songs and videos for Lent and Easter: http://www.thevigilproject.com