We don’t go through Lent, through the sacrifice, penance, and prayer to finish the forty days and continue to stay in the tomb. If we are preparing ourselves for the Easter celebration then it seems obvious that we’re preparing ourselves for joy. What does joy look like? How about …
Joy is when those things that used to bother you, to rule your life and turn your ordinary day into an extraordinary disaster, no longer matter. When the small and continuous inconveniences of life no longer influence your tone with your kids, your words with your spouse, your attention to your friends, then you are detached from the passions of a purely physical world and out from that grave of grumbling you have arisen. As Christ reminds us, “you are not in the flesh; on the contrary, you are in the spirit.”
Now that you’re not so distracted with those detours, joy looks like the ability to take time out and be excited about all that is right, good, and true. It’s taking the energy you used to use on complaining and moving it towards the every-day acts of redemption. It’s paying attention to what successes other people are having and joining them in the victory. The “fullness of redemption” is not merely to avoid the wrong, but to do the good while dancing and singing on your way there.
When you’re detached from corporeal dictators and finding your redeemed voice, then the joy comes in the freedom to be passionate. To give yourself completely to that which really does dwell within the depths of your soul. To try something new, say yes to something you never imaged you would say yes to. Joy is applying “the Spirit dwelling in you” to lives that remain attached and ruled by “the flesh.” And giving praise to the Lord as those whom you have called out arise from their graves and their bandages are unwrapped, so that it may be said that many who have “seen what he had done” in your own life, “began to believe in him.”
May you find yourself fully, totally, and completely alive come Easter Sunday.