An Easter Story: No Wings Attached
There I was, 16 years old, wearing the largest set of wings this side of heaven. It was Easter Sunday, 1994, and I found myself in a tomb waiting to act out my role of the Angel Gabriel in our church’s Easter pageant. The task was simple. I was to emerge from the empty tomb and announce to the disciples that Jesus had risen, and then sing an uplifting song called “Arise.”
Countless practices and dress rehearsals prepared me for this moment, but I had yet to wear this pair of gigantic, fluffy wings that were made specifically for me by a sweet, elderly woman in our church. She had giddily given them to me a couple of days before Easter. I accepted them graciously, but inside I felt self-conscious and worried about how all of this was going to play out.
The big moment had arrived, and it was my turn to tell the world that Jesus was alive and also show off my new set of wings to expectant onlookers. Within the dark maze of the “tomb” prop on the stage, I began making my way to the opening of the tomb, negotiating the turns until I was standing in position. I focused my gaze on the gap in the opening, and, for some reason, it now seemed much tighter than what I remembered. I, however, assured myself that I could make it work. What I failed to realize was that the distance between the opening and the back wall of the tomb was not quite wide enough for me do a complete 90 degree turn and step out into the predetermined spot on stage.
The actor playing Peter shouted out, “Where’s Jesus?“ The proverbial moment had arrived. I attempted to step into the gap and turn my body and its fluffy appendages. It was a no go from the start. I wiggled to negotiate the turn, but the wings were relentless in their breadth, and I soon realized I would have to sing my victorious melody from inside an empty tomb. I could see the jokes coming my way, “Jesus rose, and then the Angel Gabriel got stuck!”
So, the music began, and I began to sing as the other concerned choir actors watched in empathetic disbelief. I knew that to draw any further attention to my predicament would be counter-productive, so I simply belted out the anthem with full gusto and enthusiasm, telling myself to remember the reason for our hope and to declare this timeless truth regardless of my present state.
All these years later, this story still makes me (and others) laugh. But here’s the thing. The reason I can look back on this and so many other failures with levity is that Jesus Christ has redeemed every weakness. However messy my life gets, God continually reminds me that His mercy and grace is more than any embarrassing moment, poor decision, bad attitude, hurtful word, or habitual sin that finds a home in my heart. Easter is our assurance that Jesus has conquered death and now wants a personal, intimate, relationship with every human heart.
I now lead congregations in worship every Sunday, singing songs with our church band, but with no wings attached. My favorite Sunday of the year is, you guessed it, Easter. To be able to join with the angels in heaven and countless saints who have gone before and declare that we have a living Savior moves my heart in unspeakable ways. There’s a joy in my soul that wants to break out and celebrate.
Jesus died for me. And He died for you. And now He’s alive, and we can walk in newness of life. What greater story can we tell! And just think, you don’t have to be an angel with wings to tell it.
Director of Communications, Christian Education Teacher
Beaches Episcopal School