you are the blossom
unfold before me.

The women ran quickly from the tomb. They were very frightened but also filled with
great joy, and they rushed to find the disciples to give them the angel’s message.
the reaction of the women who’d come to finish burying Jesus
after they realized he was alive (Matthew 28:8)

This whole story now has become more like an enfleshed fairy tale than a history lesson: ancient prophecies coming true, miraculous signs unfolding in a faraway land, magical weddings, demon possessions, mystical meals, an ancient dragon whom the prince has come to vanquish, midnight betrayals, a king in the guise of a pauper being led away to face trial, a lover dying for his beloved. And now, a love that death cannot contain.

We all know that in fairy tales and comic books, death is never the end. Somehow the hero survives to fight another day, or someone finds the magic potion to awaken the dead. So maybe that’s it. Maybe this is all just a fairy tale or a bedtime story. That’s the only possible explanation, right?

Well, normally, yes.

But what if there was a story as true as history yet as fantastic as a fairy tale? A story that was both true in the literal sense and spoke the truth in a metaphysical sense?

The stunning thing about the Easter story is that it claims to be historically accurate and verifiable and yet remains as wonder filled as the greatest fairy tales of all. And if it isn’t really true, we shouldn’t believe it. In fact, Paul wrote:

If Christ has not been raised, then your faith is useless, and you are still under condemnation for your sins. In that case, all who have died believing in Christ have perished! And if we have hope in Christ only for this life, we are the most miserable people in the world. But the fact is that Christ has been raised from the dead. He has become the first of a great harvest of those who will be raised to life again.  1 Corinthians 15:17-20

If this story of Jesus is true, then hope has been reborn and can never die. If it’s true, death is not the end of our journey but simply the moment we finally leave shore.

The disciples and the women were beginning to realize this, all of this, all of the implications of Easter morning. So as the dust started to settle and the facts of Jesus’s resurrection became established, his friends were filled with unbelievable confusion, hope, wonder, and joy. You can’t help but be filled with joy when you finally believe the news of the resurrection:

The women ran quickly from the tomb. They were very frightened but also filled with great joy.
Matthew 28:8

As he spoke, he held out his hands for them to see, and he showed them his feet. Still they stood there doubting, filled with joy and wonder.
Luke 24:40-41

He held out his hands for them to see, and he showed them his side. They were filled with joy when they saw their Lord!
John 20:20

Any religion that’s all somber and serious isn’t Christianity. Easter is not an elders’ meeting; it’s an end zone dance. The curse is over, death is conquered, dawn is here. The words joy and Easter may not sound the same in English, but they are synonyms in the heart of God.

the sweep of the heavens glistens above me.
sunlight encircles me.
i’m swimming, not in a place, but in a moment,
gathered from eternity and handed to me here.
given to me now.

the mountains sing with words only a soul can hear
faltering against the sky i drink in this air and
tell myself yes, yes, and yes, at last i am

a new day is awakening in my soul.

Here’s the story we’ve all longed to hear. Ever since Eden, we’ve known the curse of death and the terrible cost of flirting with the forbidden. We’ve known death is the end, but it’s not any longer. The first harmony has returned and joy, not sorrow, is the final refrain.

Writing to believers facing persecution, Peter encouraged them with this reminder: “You love him even though you have never seen him. Though you do not see him, you trust him; and even now you are happy with a glorious, inexpressible joy” (1 Peter 1:8). Faith leads to joy because, for all true followers of Jesus, death is only paradise in disguise. It’s simply the doorway to the party swinging open at last. But for all others, death is the final trip into the tangled forest where the witch lives and all of the bread crumbs have been forever snatched away.

Terror or wonder. Doubt or belief. This moment holds the potential for either—the highway to hell or the gateway to life. Everlasting regret or inexpressible joy.

touching the unseen

i feel the touch of your hand upon me.
i feel the fire of your presence within me.
i am finally finding out what life and death
really mean,
as i die to who i was
and you prepare me to be born at last.
i can hear the rhythm of heaven

echoing at last within my soul.