Saturday, I did a ton of yard work. You know the drill. Dig, extract rocks, plant, throw bags of mulch around, stand up, kneel down—repeat many times over… If I had been able to finish the entire project in one day, I would have felt pretty good about it. At sixty-nine years old, however, that wasn’t happening. There’s still plenty to do.
The next day was Resurrection Sunday. It has come to be commonly known as Easter, although that label is highly suspect (but that’s a topic for another time). As we all know, it’s the day Jesus rose from the dead. No small feat, of course, which is why it’s the most celebrated day on the Christian calendar. Even many non-churchgoers head off to corporate worship on this day.
Being one of those churchgoers (as we are often called), I decided to get up in time to head to an early service. In the attempt to do so, I was reminded of the Resurrection. Just getting out of bed was a resurrection of sorts. My body was racked with pain. I was not injured, mind you, just as sore as I’ve ever been. The previous day’s activity in the yard had taken its toll. It made me think of how bad Jesus had it, yet he still got up on Sunday.
The two resurrections are hardly comparable, of course. His body had been scourged, experienced a tremendous loss of blood), pierced, three-inch thorns driven into his scull, hung on a cross, and (after three, excruciating hours of crucifixion) finally suffocated. His torturous time on that day ended with his death. My day ended in a nice, comfortable bed.
Beyond the Grave
When Jesus rose (from what we can tell), his body had no more pain. My pain, on the other hand, was just beginning. As I said before, however, there is no comparison. In fact, the pain this old body is experiencing is a mere reminder of what he went through for the likes of you and me. His glorified, painless, resurrection body is a foreshadowing of what awaits us beyond the grave. I guess I shouldn’t complain too much about a little discomfort in the here and now.
I remember (as I was in the process of growing up) hearing some of the more pious adults saying things like, “Offer your pain as an act of worship,” or “Offer up your pain to God.” I never really understood that until recent years. Our usual reaction to pain is a strong, “How can I get rid of this?” Like my recent soreness, some pain is not going away with a simple pill or a visit to the chiropractor. It’s going to be with us for at least a little while. We try to minimize it, but it’s still there as a reminder of our mortality.
I suggest we take it as a reminder of Christ’s sacrifice for us as well. His Resurrection holds the promise of a much better day.
[Dave Zuchelli is a graduate of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and currently resides in Aldie, VA.]