Just Another Form of Waking Up
May 24, 2022
Several years ago, when I was in the process of writing my first book, my publisher and I wrestled with the final title. My book, a spiritual memoir about my journey into issues of justice and race, was at its core a book about waking up.
Waking up to my own privilege as a white woman.
Waking up to the reality my brothers and sisters of color, and certainly my own husband and sons, who identify as Black and mixed-race, face daily.
Waking up to injustices long present all around me, even when my own eyes hadn’t yet been opened to see.
But the last thing I wanted was to see the words “waking up” or “awakening” in the title or subtitle.
Those words felt overdone, at least in the realm of books written by white people, for white people, when it came to issues of race.
Although we came up with a different set of words altogether, the truth is that this book, at its heart, is still a book about waking up.
Sometimes, even if you try and paint it in a different light, you just have to be honest about what something is at its core. And Easter, at its core, is just another form of waking up.
Of course, Easter is often painted in a different light. Easter is about chocolate and bunnies, hidden eggs and a Honeywell ham. Easter is about fancy new dresses and lapsed churchgoers darkening the doors of a church building once again. Easter is about preaching the best sermon so that people will return, and the church can become the church once again.
But the Easter message, Anne Lamott writes, is a reminder that “awakening is possible, to the goodness of God, the sacredness of human life, the sisterhood and brotherhood of all.”
Easter reminds of this waking up, for awakening is the heart of the resurrection message.
In Christ’s life and death and life again, we too are awakened to new life, to “life after life after death,” as theologian N.T. Wright says. It’s a newness and a waking up that extends beyond church walls, an awakening to new ways of living and being and relating to one another.
It’s an awakening to the God who is light and life, goodness and truth—and an awakening that each one of us is invited into, over and over again.