We are now counting down the days the end of the most wonderful season of the liturgical calendar year. Now, I know, you all think Advent is the most wonderful season of the liturgical calendar year. But we all love Advent for all the wrong reasons. Advent is meant to be somber. We force it to be festive, prolonging the 12 days of Christmas into 30+.
But the fifty days of Easter is and always was meant to be all festivity. This is why as I have fasted the 40 days of Lent I have come to realize the Lenten cycle isn’t over until you have feasted the 50 days of Easter.
And I have certainly been feasting over the last 48 days! It has been Easter in my life this past month and a half. I have tried to enjoy and celebrate the Resurrection, Restoration and Redemption every moment.
The first way I have done this is by playing Zelda. Many of you know that I fast video games during Lent so on day 2 of the Easter season I began my feasting by dusting off my old copy of “Twilight Princess” and putting it in my aging Wii so that I could waste time riding across Hyrule, collecting gadgets and solving puzzles.
It goes without saying to you who have played them that the Zelda games are unlike any other video games. The aesthetic and gameplay are incredible. Even the darkest of Zelda games are still pretty lighthearted and cartoonish. The graphics are incredibly beautiful, as is the music.
But more than all that, the characters are diverse. They come in all shapes and sizes and styles of clothing. Most of them are downright weird. This is probably because of Zelda’s Japanese origins but I love the characters nonetheless. They resemble some of the weird people I know, many of whom have attended churches I pastor. If you add to all that the over arching theme of driving darkness away with light, you might realize that Zelda is certainly a wonderful and beautiful gift.
This Easter season I taught my youth group that the secret to finding joy is Philippians 4:8 which teaches us to think and dwell upon whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely excellent and praiseworthy. The Zelda games have so much of those wonderful attributes. Enjoying these artistic pieces is one great way to celebrate the light of the world and the light that is in the world.
I also spent this Easter season training for a marathon in and around Eden, UT. The road to Eden goes through, “Mountain Green” which is aptly named because green abounds on those mountains, especially this time of year. To accent the green, the mountains were still snow capped. The lake was smooth as ice, partly because some of it was still ice. I spent hours running up there marveling at the beauty of it all and celebrating Easter by praying, reciting Scripture and smiling at the various wildlife. The marathon was a couple weeks ago and we began running right as the sun was rising to illuminate a gorgeous, green day.
I can’t help but draw parallels between the fabricated world of Hyrule and the actual creation of our God. Eden, UT resembles Hyrule in its beauty. Actually, Hyrule resembles Eden but it doesn’t match it. Real life is somehow always better than fabrication.
It also reminds me that, like Hyrule, darkness still threatens this world. It makes itself known every time I catch myself striding over a dead deer on the highway. Those carcasses remind me our world is indeed still broken. Death is still the enemy and he has not yet been vanquished. As the hymn, “My Hope is Built” reminds us, “Darkness does sometimes veil [God’s] lovely face.”
But so too, the light shines out all the clearer during Easter season. After all, Jesus didn’t just save me. He saved and is saving all creation. Creation was and still is groaning under the oppression of futility. Unfortunately the ground is still cursed because of Adam. But Paul teaches in Romans 8 that all creation too “shall be liberated from its bondage to decay.” (Rom. 8:21)
And now as this wonderful Easter season winds down and we march into common time or Kingdomtide, the season for work, we are reminded that God has done God’s part against the darkness and the death. Now we too must work out our own salvation (see Phil. 2:12-13).
Come oh Jesus, we long for, we work for, you.