Living with Easter
Happy Easter! Seriously, Happy Easter! No, I don’t have my days mixed up. And yes, I do mean to wish you “Happy Easter!” You may be done with Easter Sunday services and Easter lunch and Easter egg hunts. You may have put away your fancy new Easter dress and your bunny decorations, and eaten all those chocolate covered marshmallow eggs, but Easter isn’t done with you. Easter isn’t over, in fact it’s only just begun.
I have often felt that Easter gets the short end of the stick compared to Christmas. Which is funny because this is really only a phenomenon of modernity. Early Christians didn’t so much celebrate Christmas – the Easter festival was all the focus. Some even said that Christ birth was around the same time as his death so the two were celebrated together in some way, with the primary focus being on Jesus death and resurrection.
Most people think of Easter as a single day. It certainly has never had the commercial appeal of Christmas, and because it always falls on a Sunday, many people around the world don’t get an additional day off from work. But Easter isn’t just day, it’s a whole season called Eastertide – tide from an old English word that means “time” or “season” that begins with Easter Sunday and stretches all the way to Pentecost Sunday.
But what do we do with it – how do we live with Easter not only as a season but an “every” day kind of event? I find myself wondering this a lot lately amidst scenes of gun violence, natural disasters, domestic abuse, compounding issues with drugs and alcohol, rising poverty statistics despite record profits and reported economic growth, and a general sense of unrest and mistrust in the political milieu of our day.
As I have sat at bedsides of the those who are dying, been in the hospital with those who are sick, listened to the desperation of those seeking some kind of help and understanding amidst life’s challenges – I have wondered…what hope does Easter offer – surely there is more than just the hope of eternal life? I don’t mean to sound ungrateful for that promise, but as I look at the witness of scripture and the accounts of the Resurrection and how the disciples responded, I get a sense that there is something more to Easter than just the simple proclamation that “He is risen”.
I find myself wondering, what it means to live with Easter – what it means to find hope in the most hopeless of situations, what it means to be light in the darkness of our lives, what it means to believe in the Resurrection and resurrection as part of God’s vision of a world reconciled and renewed.
I honestly don’t have answers to all of these things, but still… I keep wondering… What would it look like to take Easter seriously— not as a single day or even as a season but as a way of life – to live as an Easter people all the time? What would it look like for St. Jacob’s to be an Easter “everyday” kind of church? What relationships could be mended? What past hurts could be healed? What mission could we engage? What new program could we create? What new venture could we risk in faith?
Easter reminds us that we have new life in Christ, but when we treat it as a once off event or merely a once-a-year celebration, we miss the resurrection possibilities all around us. Despite wars, violence, personal struggles, and economic challenges, God has not abandoned us, nor has God left us to our own devices. The Risen Savior is still with us. Easter asks us to reflect on His presence, and—even in the face of doubts, our own woundedness, and fears—to live with joy and a sense of purpose in being part of God’s plan to transform the empty tombs of life to places of light and love.
So…Happy Easter…let’s get on with living it!
With you on the Journey,