It’s Easter Sunday. I’m sitting here in sweats, having just eaten some cinnamon rolls with my wife. The only kid at home is still asleep. Normally, we would just be getting home from Easter services at church.
Not this year. Due to the pandemic, everything is different. I wasn’t even planning on writing a blog post today. I was just going to relax and have a quiet day. Then I started perusing the internet.
I googled the term “Empty Tomb” in images and started looking at photographs of the tomb in Jerusalem traditionally acknowledged as Christ’s burial place. But what caught my eye were some paintings I was unfamiliar with.
The first one, at the top of this post, is by a man named Dirk Walker, and this next one is from Rado Javor.
I’m not very good at describing why some art reaches me, yet other does not. Something about these two paintings stirred me enough to change my mind about writing a post.
You might be thinking that the two paintings share the same “blurry” quality. Not a lot of definition. Some of you might not like them for that reason. As I think about it, the blurry quality is precisely why I like them, and feel they are a great representation of Easter – this Easter in particular.
Things are pretty blurry right now. This is the weirdest Easter I’ve experienced.
On Wednesday I shut my doors at my business and sent my employees home until I can call them back in. I’m not exactly sure when that will be – it’s kinda blurry.
We have been really good at staying in and not associating with other people. Will we get sick? Maybe, maybe not – it’s kinda blurry.
We have two grandbabies due in June. Will we be able to cuddle them? Don’t know – it’s still blurry.
Will the economy be opened up? And if so, when? It’s kinda blurry.
Will things get back to normal? Or will we need to define what normal is to become? We don’t know. It is all so blurry.
We (I) don’t function well in a blurry world. We like to think that we know what is going on, and what will happen. We find security in living firmly ensconced in the illusion that we have any kind of control over our lives, and the world we live in.
That’s why this is the weirdest, most perfect Easter ever. No family get together, no traditional egg toss, no out of town family members. No ward church services.
That’s precisely why today is the day for a perfect Easter.
Easter is about hope. It is about the resurrection of the Savior, which gives us hope that life will continue after this. It gives us hope that there is more than just this mortal life.
Right now, when we are stuck in this blurry place, we can look to the Savior for that hope we might not have. Hope that things will be better – if not now, eventually, or even eternally.
Like many of you, I have been deeply stressed and worried about how my family and I will emerge from this pandemic. I am usually the official “glass half full” member of the family, but even I have had my share of anxiety and down moments the past few weeks. I don’t do blurry very well.
On a macro scale, the world is generally devoid of much hope. In our current situation, it is in even more short supply than toilet paper.
Last week we got to enjoy General Conference. More precisely, we got to revel in it. We were able to bask in the enlightenment and clarity that it gave us. That clarity brings hope.
Through His chosen leaders, the Savior allowed me see things more clearly, with greater definition and understanding – even in the midst of the blurriness of our current predicament.
Elder Neal A. Maxwell taught, “Having ultimate hope does not mean we will always be rescued from proximate problems, but we will be rescued from everlasting death! Meanwhile, ultimate hope makes it possible to say the same three words used centuries ago by three valiant men. They knew God could rescue them from the fiery furnace, if He chose. “But if not,” they said, nevertheless, they would still serve Him!” (link)
Today, as our thoughts turn to the Savior’s miraculous resurrection, we can bask in the hope it gives each of us. Because of Him, we know that this is not all there is. How dark would a pandemic such as this be to the atheist or agnostic?
I know in my heart, through the witness of the Holy Ghost, that Christ does live. That he did atone for our sins. That he does keep His promises – and He has promised us such amazing things.
I know these things with a remarkable degree of clarity. While the paintings I’ve referenced are blurred, I understand what they represent with a clarity born of faith, revelation and experience.
So today, while we experience our weird Easter, we can also experience a perfect Easter by searching for, and clinging to, the hope the Savior offers us. For some, that search for hope is illusive, or incomprehensible. But what an opportune situation we have before us to dig in, find that hope and let it wash over us! (If you find yourself short of hope, you can borrow some of mine.)
Hope will help us hang on through difficult times:
“When you feel that there is only a thin thread of hope, it is really not a thread but a massive connecting link, like a life preserver to strengthen and lift you. It will provide comfort so you can cease to fear.” Elder Richard G. Scott (link)
“Even though we may feel lost in the midst of our current circumstances, God promises the hope of His light—He promises to illuminate the way before us and show us the way out of darkness.” Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf (link)
May your weird Easter be filled with hope, through our Savior Jesus Christ.
My best to you, my friends,