Posted by: smstrouse | April 6, 2013

When the Stone’s Not Yet Been Rolled Away

Yes, it’s Easter. Alleluia! The celebration continues through the Great 50 Days all the way to Pentecost.

But that doesn’t necessarily mean that everything is now hunky-dory and we all should be happy, happy, happy.

Because for some people, the stone has not yet been rolled away. For some, it’s still Holy Saturday , that in-between time twixt death and resurrection. Something has happened – death, tragedy, illness, job loss, financial woe, family crisis – and hope for anything positive coming out of it is dim at best.

If you’re not feeling the Easter joy, I have just two words for you: it’s OK. The point of Easter isn’t that there’s one particular day when your tomb will be opened and your problem will be resolved. In fact, Easter isn’t about time at all. Yes, we celebrate a particular time in history, when a man named Jesus died and – in some inexplicable, mystical, controversial way – was experienced as being alive again.

But the point of Easter goes way beyond that event 2000+ years ago. Resurrection, that is, impossible possibility, is available to us as well. All the time. Just not usually in a neatly packaged time frame of three days. In fact, there is no time frame for the experience of being entombed.

That doesn’t mean, however, that we need to feel hopeless. Recognizing our situation, feeling the pain, sitting quietly with it, being very gentle and kind to ourselves is part of the in-between time. No guilt about not being in ‘the Easter mood’ or not dying any eggs this year or not caring that the ‘Alleluia’ has returned to the liturgy.

It’s OK. Because Easter is about hope. Even if you don’t feel any.

It would be wonderful to be able to make promises about how our problems will all get resolved and in three days, no less. We know that’s not how it goes. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t a very real impossible possibility with the power to roll our heavy boulder away.

The blessing of Holy Saturday – for however long it is for each of us – is peace in the midst of pain, hope in the midst of despair, a community of support even while feeling terribly alone.

The stone will be rolled away. In time.

In the meantime, it’s OK.


  1. Honestly, Susan, I’m not trying to just flatter you, but you have once again said something I needed to hear. You said it at just the right time and in just the right way. This is a little gift from God, through you. Thank you.


  2. […] published on April 6, 2013 by Susan Strouse of First United Lutheran […]


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  4. Susan,

    I’ve kept your post When the Stone’s Not yet Been Rolled Away since it came out. Thinking about my unresolved situation, I still do get stressed by it sometimes. Not as badly as I used to, but still…

    Anyway, it really spoke to me when you first posted it, and it still speaks to me. It’s very comforting. I leave it in my inbox. I don’t re-read it very often, just once in a while. But I love keeping it in my inbox. It’s a little message of grace and hope that truly makes me feel better and keeps me from feeling overwhelmed.



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