And then…Monday rolls around.
I think our walk through the season of Lent is kind of like that. We prepare our hearts in eager anticipation of Easter. We reflect on the cross and its significance. We feel the weight of Maundy Thursday, the heartache of Good Friday, the silence and loneliness of Holy Saturday. We know the waiting and longing we feel for the discovery of an empty grave and a risen Savior. And then it comes. He comes, and we proclaim, “He is Risen! He is Risen Indeed!”
But then… it’s Monday. Then Tuesday. Then Wednesday. And before we know it Easter is gone and it's just a regular Sunday (or for us at Grace, a regular weekend of worship). We somehow forget it all til next year.
The excitement is gone. The hype is over. And we are left with a tired staff, leftover candy, plenty of open seats and parking spots, and some would say, the relief of not having to go through it all again for another year. Easter kind of wears us out but it’s also unfortunate because “the other shoe has yet to drop.” (Ken Sehested)
The temptation is to treat Easter like it’s an ending and now it’s back to “normal - regular life” yet Easter is not the conclusion. Just as our faith does not end with Good Friday crucifixion, neither does it end with Easter resurrection. I love how one author put it, “We may be exhausted, but the New Testament story is not”. (KH) We may be exhausted, church, but the ‘good news’ of Jesus is not.
We have become so acquainted with and desensitized to the story; so comfortable in our comfort zones, and accustomed to our customs that we need Easter to shake us back up. Nothing was the same ever again. Or as one author put it, “When a man who claims to be God rises from the dead, “business as usual” isn’t a thing.” (Patreeya P) Easter isn’t just a time to pause and reflect on some nice truths we tend to forget about the rest of the year. It is the entire crux of our faith.
Remember that other shoe I mentioned a moment ago? This is what I meant: the resurrection of Jesus is the pivotal moment in the God story, but there is another act to follow. If we leave Easter behind or treat it like it's over / the end, then we might as well say Easter is about spring fashions, colorful eggs, chocolate bunnies, the number of services one church can put together in a week, or whether or not this year’s easter sunday was better than last!.
Think of your favorite movie. One that really gets ya - speaks to you - means something and you could watch it over and over again. Got it? Ok, now imagine you only saw the first half - just enough to get you interested, intrigued, or inspired and then - that’s it, it's over, the end, no conclusion, no resolution, no finding out how the story ends, no lasting impact.
It’s not the end. If there was ever a time when we needed a reset button; a begin again, do-over button, it is now. If there ever were situations we need a come to Jesus moment - a come back to the basic truth and start again, it is the many situations we find ourselves in today. If there was ever a time for the forgiveness, compassion, faith, hope, and the peace that Christ came to give, died to secure and rose again to establish, it is now. It’s today: the day another shooting took place at a school, a bank, or a tight knit neighborhood. It’s today: the day another soldier paid the ultimate price. It’s today: the day another child is bullied at school or abused at home and can’t think of any other way out but death by suicide. It’s today: the day a tornado hits just 6 miles from our backyard. It is every day and that is why this post Easter time is called Eastertide.
It is the time we live into the Easter promise Jesus gave us through his ultimate act of love and sacrifice. It is the time to not only remember but to live into what the radical death, relentless love and revolutionary power of our God means for every day of our lives, not just Easter Sunday.
How are you…how are we like those disciples hiding out of fear, not trusting Jesus’ word? Afraid of failure? Judgment? Uncertainty? Worried we don’t have anything to offer? Scared we are too young, too old, not enough? How many of us are still waiting behind locked hearts and minds waiting for proof? “Show me your hands and feet Jesus.” He did dear church, he did.
Every week is our chance to live the Easter story. To grow in our example of what it means to follow Jesus; to carry out what he taught, modeled, and commanded. Every week is our small-scale lenten journey. It is our six days in the wilderness: facing the struggle that is oh so real, navigating the unknown and uncertain aspects of our lives, and making our way through the metaphorical deserts and storms that await us in this world. Oh but the good news church, the good news is that every Sunday is our little Easter. Our day to once again porcelain “He is Risen. He is Risen Indeed!”
Pastor Jenothy Irvine