I have a confession to make.
I sleep every night with a mosquito net over my bed, and it’s not my favorite thing. Imagine living where it’s about 85 to 90 degrees every day with some of the hottest sun on the planet, there is no airconditioning, and then at night it drops to 70 degrees, and then you have to go and seal yourself up in a tent when you go to bed. No fan, no circulation of the cooler night air. I tried going without it until one night I woke up in the middle of the night with a giant cockroach as a bedmate (I did win the battle to the death). But now every night, I set up my little tent over my bed, and get in, knowing that I’m safe from uninvited guests, but knowing that I’ll lose my fan and fall asleep hot and stuffy. You know what is the first thing I do when I climb out of bed in the morning? It’s not saying my prayers, it’s not stretching or yawning. The first thing I do when I get out of bed and come out from my cocoon is … inhale. I take a deep breath of the fresh air and let it fill my lungs. You know the sound it makes when you inhale deep: Huuuuuuuh! When I get out of bed in the morning, it’s like a new life.
When I was a little boy, one day my parents took the family to the beach. So, we’re on the beach and my mother is occupied with my sister, my father is probably off swimming a bit, and then, I guess, I made my way into the water. I remember deciding at one point that I would put my face down into the water. Now, once I did that, an amazing thing happened: my feet came off the ground and I started to float. That was cool! But then, when I decided I had had enough, I tried to lift my head out of the water. But I needed to get my feet to the ground to do it. One the other hand, I needed to have my head out of the water to get my feet on the ground. I was trapped, and I knew it, and I was afraid and wondering how I could hold my breath.
Then, all of a sudden, I felt this large hand and arm underneath me, lifting me out of the water. It was my Dad. He pulled my out of the water, and he saved my life.
Now, the first thing I did wasn’t to thank him, or smile at him. The first thing I did? “Huuuuuuuh!!” Inhale. I had new life. I was saved.
At some point before dawn on Easter Sunday, Jesus’ Father raised Him from the dead. The first thing that Jesus did? “Huuuuuuuh!!”
I can picture Mary, Jesus’ mother, on Saturday, the day after the burial of her son. I can see her trying to work out what just happened. On the one hand, she remembers the angel telling her that her Son will reign forever in His kingdom. On the other hand, He’s now dead in a tomb, rejected basically by everyone. I can see her struggle trying to reconcile these huge two things, her faith in the angel’s words and the reality of her Son’s dead body, that she herself held in her own arms, now buried in a tomb. Tough stuff!
And, then, at some hour before sunrise on Sunday morning, all of a sudden she gets it: raised from the dead! … “Huuuuuuuh!!”
What about the disciples, scratching their heads about all that happened, trying to make all that they experienced fit with the reality that Jesus is dead in a tomb and going bananas trying to do, what happened to them? That’s right: “Huuuuuuuh!!”
This is the greatest week of the year, because this is a whole week when God gives us a chance to let Him save us, to let Him give us new life. In whatever it is that we can’t reconcile, we can let Him give us that big inhale.
It’s the week of “Huuuuuuuh!!”
Happy Easter Octave!