It ebbs and flows all around us


The symbol of Easter is the empty tomb. You can’t depict or domesticate emptiness. You can’t make it into pageants and string it with lights. It doesn’t move people to give presents to each other or sing old songs. It ebbs and flows all around us, the Eastertide.  [1]

I wondered if Easter would come this year.   “How can you even ask this?” I chided myself.   “Of course Easter will come!”   But the doubts remained.   How could it possibly come, given all that is happening now?

The Spring Equinox had arrived.   Of this I was certain.   The pink and white cherry blossoms, purple hyacinths, and tulips touched with morning’s dew joined in heralding its arrival.   The dazzling blue skies and crisp air, the song of the sparrow and the Blue Jay’s arrival with its resplendent plumage, confirmed that spring is upon us.

But what of Easter?   Would it, could it, come?

Wrote Frederick Buechner, “The symbol of Easter is the empty tomb.  You can’t depict or domesticate emptiness.”   This is true.   As much as we tried in the past to domesticate Easter – with chocolate eggs and images of bunny rabbits – there is a dimension of it that refuses to be tamed, to be put in a box and conveniently put aside until the next year.

Instead, Easter came.   It came because it was the last thing Jesus’ followers would have ever expected, much less believed.  It came because, in a jaded world all too accustomed to harsh realities and bad news, Easter happened.

Easter came then and comes still.    It ebbs and flows all around us, the Eastertide.

The Season of Easter.


[1] Frederick Buechner, from Whistling in the Dark, and later, Beyond Words

[2] Image from Unearthing the World of Jesus, Smithsonian Magazine

Author: Jessica McArdle

These are dark and corrosive times. As a writer and ordained minister with the United Church of Christ, I use prayer, poetry, reflection, and scripture to re-align our embattled spirits with the uniqueness and urgency of our God-given identity and call.

2 thoughts on “It ebbs and flows all around us”

  1. It has come indeed in the midst of pandemic, in the beauty that follows equinox and in the shiver of our responsibility to share the scary good news.

    1. Thank you, Maren. Yes, Easter has come. But as you rightly noted, this news is unsettling and even scary. But I suppose this is how one must “practice resurrection.” A blessed day to you and yours.

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