The patent-leather shoes have scuff marks. Marinara sauce stains the new tie. The lilies have turned brown. The smell of chocolate makes you sick.
Easter has come and gone and we’ve sung our halleluiahs – but now what?
Say what, Jesus? You want me to do something? Oh no!
With the saints throughout the centuries, we proclaim “Christ has died; Christ is risen; Christ will come again!” But that’s not enough. It’s not enough for us to be Easter people on Easter Sunday. Christ calls us to be Easter people every day.
John tells us that when Jesus appeared to the disciples, he sent them out – out of the locked house, out of their comfort zones, out of safety. He sent them out to the world – “As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” Luke reports that the risen Lord told his disciples “that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations.” Matthew reports an even stronger charge from Jesus: “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you.”
We’ve heard the good news. We are Easter people. That means we are also sent people – sent to share the good news, to encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient, seek to do good to one another and to all, rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all things, “for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (I Thess. 5:14-18).
We are Easter people. Let’s act like it!
From the Cross to Easter Morning “God has in his mercy shown us a different way. ‘You cannot come up to me, so I will come down to you.’ And God descends to us human beings. This act of becoming one with us begins at Christmas and ends on Good Friday.” – Emil Brunner
There is no shortcut to Easter. The world would have us celebrate only that morning. The world would have us dress up in our finest, our shiny new patent leather shoes and flowery dresses, our sharply pressed suits and ties, with our hair freshly cut and our nails neatly groomed. The world speaks only of bunnies and chicks, chocolate candy and egg hunts. When you walk through the mall or the discount store, that is all you will see of Easter.
But we could not celebrate Easter morning if we did not first have our Savior riding into Jerusalem on a donkey, crowds chanting and throwing palms before him. We could not celebrate Easter morning without a last supper, a betrayal, a mock trial. We could not celebrate Easter morning without the cross, the sky darkened at midday, the rending of the temple curtain. Without all of these things, there could be no Easter. Without the cross, there could be no resurrection.
Just as the 40-day season of Lent prepares us for Easter, so, too, does Holy Week prepare us for the resurrection dawn. I invite you to contemplate the days leading up to Palm Sunday and to engage in worship as we remember that first supper on Maundy Thursday and that cross on Good Friday. And I invite you to celebrate, at last, the risen Lord of Easter.
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An intelligent heart acquires knowledge, and the ear of the wise seeks knowledge. Proverbs 18:15
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