I’ll never forget the day I got called out in my Greek class. My mind had been wandering as the professor went over the vocabulary words on the white board, and I thought he had caught me when I heard him say my name. “Stacy! Did you know,” he asked, “that your name is the diminutive form of Anastasia? And that name comes from anastasis. So the root of your name is -” He tapped the board where the Greek word was written, and I read the English translation next to it. “Resurrection,” I said in wonder. No, I definitely had not known that that’s what my name means. I’m certain my parents didn’t know either when they chose the name. But all these years later, I’d like to think it fits.
Being something of a language nerd, I love to pick words apart. So when I looked at anastasis, I could see that it was the opposite of stasis – the opposite of staying still. I thought a lot about that as I stood inside a first-century tomb in Israel. It’s called “The Garden Tomb,” and is one of the possible burial sites for Jesus. The truth is, we just aren’t sure where Jesus was entombed after he was taken down off the cross. I suppose it doesn’t matter, since Christians believe he didn’t stay there long anyway. As I stood inside that shallow cave, with a rock shelf for holding a body, there wasn’t a lot of room for moving around, but there wasn’t meant to be. The purpose of this room was stasis – this is where the body would stay, until all the flesh had decayed and the bones could be moved to an ossuary. What happened instead in Jesus’ case was anastasis – movement, life, where there should be none!
And that has become my story, too. In spite of all the things that have tried to stop me, tried to keep me in stasis, by the grace of God I keep getting up, keep moving. Maybe that’s your story as well. We are resurrection people. For me, that doesn’t give hope only at the end of earthly life. That Christ overcame the stillness of death gives me hope for all the times I am tempted to stay down, and lately that’s an almost daily battle. But I have to keep moving forward. It’s right there in my name. The unkillable hope of Easter propels me, even if it’s one tiny step at a time.