Alice Walker’s novel The Color Purple tells the story of Celie, a poor black woman whose husband, Albert, is violent and abusive. Albert isolated Celie from her family, censoring the mail so that she never heard from them. Celie’s sister, Nettie, a missionary in Africa wrote to Celie faithfully, but Celie didn’t see the letters. Albert hid them. Over time, with no word from Nettie, Celie resigned herself to the believe that her sister was dead. . One day, though, Celie found a bundle of letters from Nettie that Albert had hidden. One of those letters said:
I know you think I am dead. But I am not. I been writing to you too, over the years, but Albert said you’d never hear from me again and since I never heard from you all this time, I guess he was right. Now I only write at Christmas and Easter hoping my letter
get lost among the Christmas and Easter greetings, or that Albert get the holiday spirit and have pity on us.
There is so much to tell you that I don’t know, hardly, where to begin, and anyway, you probably won’t get this letter, either. I’m sure Albert is still the only one to take mail out of the box.
But if this do get through, one thing I want you to know, I love you, and I am not dead. . .
Your loving sister,
I don’t’ know who or what “Albert” is for you, who or what it is that stands between you and the news of God’s love and grace, who or what it is that interferes with, makes difficult your trust in the resurrection. Is “Albert” grief or fear? Guilt or shame? Learned helplessness or practiced hopelessness? A bent toward cynicism? A habit of letting the unruly reason of the mind trump the longing reason of the heart?
Whatever or whoever “Albert” is, God is determined that, in spite of Albert, you will discover the liberating and gladdening of resurrection. God will not give up until we hear this Easter Gospel, which is the voice of Jesus saying: I love you and I am not dead.