From a tattered cross and an empty grave there rises a rebel yell, loud enough to echo through thousands of years of history and thousands of years of tomorrows. A single voice calling the billions of us individually, intimately, and still collectively. A voice loud enough, compelling enough, and deserving enough to impose upon our present state. We pause, and turn our ears so that we may be sure we are hearing clearly. The voice beckons:
Lift your head, O forgotten one.
You who have been tossed aside, and forgotten. You did nothing to deserve the treatment you received. It’s time to stop believing the lies so readily thrown in your direction. You have been beautifully made for something amazing. You are treasure, and you bring joy to the Father. Lift your head out of your hands and wipe away the tears. Your lover is here.
Step out, O prisoner.
You who are imprisoned by the dense walls of guilt and iron bars of shame. The bruises and scars on the body of God represent your freedom. Your jail walls lay now in ruble, the bars on your prison door lay splintered. Rip off your convict clothes, and run into the beautiful sunlight of freedom.
Wake up, O sleeper.
You who have grown tired of religion, and you who’ve become lost in tradition. Your pathetic attempts at proving yourself are of no value here. You’ve known it all along, deep down in your chest. Now, in the shadows of two criminals, those thoughts are validated. It was never up to you and was always up to Him. Step out from your piety to find the relationship you’ve missed all this time.
Rise up, O settler.
You who have settled far too easily for a less than desirable story. You marriages, relationships, careers, and livelihoods bear the marks of disappointment. Your story is not finished, your life not settled. Take courage and steady your hands, for there is much to be done in the making new of things.
Eat up, O prodigal.
You who have known the Father, and left anyway. The excuses and reasons for leaving are many, and yet none matter. The feast is set in your honor; the Father prepared every detail of your homecoming rather than giving up on you and moving on. Sit at the table; eat, drink, and be merry for you are home.
Yes, there is a loud and brave voice calling to us all.
Each of us. You see, grace has won, in the most violent and unexpected way. It took a toll and took much, but your freedom and identity is secured. The bloody battle, finished. And the victory does not discriminate.
Here, in the aftermath of death, there is only life. Beautiful, whole, undying life. Happy Easter. Now, and everyday.