Monday, April 21

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Well, Easter is over with for another year.  Actually, it's not done.  According to the Christian calendar, Easter is not just a day, it is a season, 50 days long.  But let's face it, most of us don't really celebrate Easter as a season.  We have one busy Sunday, and then a few more days of making ourselves sick with chocolate eggs and jellybeans.  Then it's back to normal (whatever normal means).  The day after Easter often strikes me as a little bit of a let-down.

Why does this happen?  For those in ministry, I can say that one reason may be the fact that we run around like crazy during holy week, planning a bunch of different services and events.  Easter morning is a marathon, and then we crash.  Perhaps you haven’t been a part of 11 services in 3 days, but all the same, I'm guessing you can relate to having a bunch of work go into something, and then, when it's done, feeling more tired than happy.  But besides the fatigue factor, I think there's a deeper reason for the day-after-Easter blues.

Easter is filled with the message of the power of new life, of death's defeat.  Jesus triumphs over his death and over ours, and it's a day full of hope and joy.  So we sing with all the joy we can muster.  We're full of hallelujahs as we get into the spirit of the day. "Christ is risen!" we say as we shake hands.  " Risen Indeed!"  The resurrection seems true on Easter Sunday.  It seems possible to believe that things can be different than what they are.  This hopeful feeling may stick with us through a nice family get-together, but then...In a lot of ways, we're still waiting for the resurrection, and it's hard to celebrate while you wait.  

Even when we do experience little bits of the life of Christ growing in our souls, it's never a complete transformation.  We sing about resurrection but we also know that we're not there yet.  For all our Easter joy, we're still the same people that we were before Sunday.  We still have to go to a job that we don’t like, or we wish we had a job that we didn’t like.  A friend still has cancer.  There are still bills we can’t pay.  People are still hungry, and sad, and struggling with painful relationships, agonizing decisions, and a thousand other things.  

I don’t think it was this way for the disciples on the say after the resurrection!  I don’t think they were sitting around depressed and bored when they heard that their master was alive, do you?

On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.”  When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord.   – John 20:19-20

I have often thought about the resurrected Jesus appearing to his disciples, saying "Peace be with you."  And I have thought about Jesus showing them the wounds on his hands, and in his side.  You know, even Jesus didn't get rid of all his scars.

It's easy to fall into a pattern of wishing that faith would fix things, that God would intervene and immediately turn our confusion to clarity and our sadness to joy, and then feeling disillusioned when it doesn't work out that way, and wondering if there was something wrong with us... or with God.  It's a hard pattern to live in.  We want solutions, and when there aren't any surely it must be somebody's fault.
Perhaps the resurrection doesn't work in the way we expect it to work.  Perhaps we experience God's grace, and all the new life that comes with that, but we still have the same wounds and scars we did before.  Jesus is transformed in the resurrection, but not so much so that he loses his injuries - they just aren't killing him anymore.  Maybe that's how resurrection works in our lives, too.  We carry scars and wounds, but because of the resurrection, we know that they are not fatal.

Easter isn't supposed to magically change everything... it's supposed to remind us that everything has already been changed because of what happened on the third day!  So let’s live this day with grace and courage, with patience and hope. The resurrection is real, even if it's not easy.

Jeff Frazier

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Spot on, Reverend. We celebrate big, but spiritual maturity is needed to let the joy of the Lord grow in our still decaying human meat suits. Thanks for being open and genuine about that struggle.
Galatian's 5 offers a multi-faceted fruit of the spirit, not fruit of one really well planned service. The big day with no letdown is reserved for His return.