An empty tomb. Forgotten burial cloths. A rolled-away stone. Angel messengers. A sobbing woman. A “gardener” who calls her by name and changes her sobbing to joy. This is the Easter story. A resurrection story. Every year we read and sing and pray this story. But how often does the boldness of this story light up the room?
Father Gregg Boyle* is a Jesuit priest and founder/executive director of Homeboy Industries in Los Angeles, California. He uses the term spacious to name and describe God. Do you think of God as spacious, as vast, magnanimous, expansive, and beyond?
The Easter story is prime proof of this understanding of God. A glimpse of this God emboldens us to step out of our ordinary, sometimes stale, view of Jesus. The son of God is born to a teen-age girl in a barn. He walks through an everyday life, love pouring out of him. Lives he touches are changed forever. He dies a horrible death, forgiving those who kill him. And then there he is standing outside his tomb, healing Mary’s grief. Who could imagine such a life? Only a God who is far beyond our imagination!
Gregg Boyle rightly points out that we are accustomed to a “one-false-move” God – a God who is occupied with our every flaw. And so we have no room in our minds for the “no-matter-whatness” of God, for the God who’s “just plain old too busy loving us to be disappointed in us.”
What if we believed in and lived for a spacious God? What if our God is unlimited, creative, imaginative, operating far beyond our limited vocabulary? And what if that God eternally dwells and delights in us? Now that’s an Easter story!
*Father Boyle’s memoir is Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion.