Even in the age of COVID-19, the Easter Garden waits.
It is tucked into the folds of the story like the most beautiful diamond imaginable.
It’s first suggestion and purpose appear in the Garden of Eden in Genesis 3:15 and like the unstoppable coming of the tide, rides along the crest of history to a waiting Garden of Gethsemane, among the olive trees.
It is an ancient word that comes to us opaquely, threaded throughout the Old Testament, until it is boldly proclaimed, then finished, by the Man of Sorrows Himself in the Gospels.
It has dominated the intersection of the human imagination, thought and hope against every effort, including lethal force, to drive it from relevancy, and history itself.
Multitudes of “experts,” theologians, historians, politicians, scientists, and writers have gathered around the Biblical water cooler for twenty centuries to defame or defend it, or to argue endlessly about its transparent error, or its transcendent truth.
Yet Easter still comes.
For those who doubt, no amount of evidence will ever be enough; for those who believe, a kernel of faith is enough.
There are mountains of books written by some of the best lawyers, doctors, scientists and cynics from every generation that have set out determined to disprove the “fairy tale” and spare new generations from its imaginary guilt – only to find upon examination that the power of the Word and the Gospel message of the Resurrection too immense and its implications too profound to withstand.
Now, in an era saturated in a blur of contrived imagery, managed by trillions of microchips, and run by the sages of science, war is waged against the idea of human frailty and redemption through the immensity of the Creator God’s love.
The center of modern man is his own affairs while the message from the Garden speaks of submission and sacrifice – of selfless, unrelenting love that takes us an eternity from ourselves.
Easter and the Resurrection of Christ is either madness – the most outrageous lie of all history – or it is the most important event to ever happen in human affairs. It’s binary.
Paul, the great Jewish intellectual of his time, may have witnessed the Crucifixion of the heretical teacher, Jesus of Nazareth, first hand. If not, he wholeheartedly endorsed it. His hatred and tireless efforts to eradicate the troublesome sect Jesus left behind involved organized murder, and an official warrant to track the members of The Way beyond Jerusalem.
But, instead, the Truth of the Resurrection hunted Paul as he made the long ride through the Jordan valley going to Damascus. As he drew near to his destination, he was thrown from his horse and confronted by the Risen Christ, not with a proclamation but a simple question; “Why do you persecute me?”
Like many of us, Paul presumed to know so much about the God whom he studied, read, and preached about. Yet he knew so little about the Living God of Life.
These 2,000 years later, the story has not changed. The powers that oppose Him still rage, and scheme ever-increasing hostility; while those who have witnessed the Resurrection find that at every turn of history, the Christ of Easter’s Garden is already there, waiting.
Even in the age of COVID-19, the Easter Garden waits. Easter still comes.
(Parts of this article first appeared for Easter, 2017.)