It Really Happened!
The day after Easter always leaves me contemplative. Here’s what I’ve been thinking about today:
Ever wonder why newer Christians seem more excited about Easter than those who have been celebrating the resurrection of Christ all their lives? Everything is new to them, and they can’t seem to get over it. Keep in mind that they just recently got it: “Jesus died for me, was buried, and rose again. It really happened, and it was all because He loved me.”
They have been celebrating it daily since the day they believed, the day of their new birth. By “they,” I mean those who just recently heard about Christ from a friend or loved one. I remember those days, do you? It was all we talked about-Jesus, His love, His death, His resurrection, our new life, hope, meaning, and destiny.
And then they figure it out that Easter is now about something more than egg hunts and spring break. It is the church’s official celebration of the resurrection event.
“Wow, what a concept,” they’re thinking. “We should go to church too!”
Let’s Go to Church!
So they do
And what do they see?
Often they see strangers gathering for an “Easter Show” or event that is impressive and entertaining.
But it’s sometimes pretty obvious that the people there aren’t as excited about Easter as those who were recently delivered from darkness. And it doesn’t seem to matter that these new believers actually showed up at church that day. Oh the regulars seem to enjoy singing the songs they traditionally sing every Easter. They surely love getting all dressed up in their Easter-Sunday finest, or filling a stadium for Jesus to show that their church is really happening. And they talk to each other a lot about their ham dinner and other family traditions as they ignore these guests.
But the wonder of it all and the magnitude of the privilege of belonging to the One who died and rose again, seems secondary to all the religious trappings.
Desperate for the Resurrection!
I don’t know all the reasons for the contrast between a new believer’s appreciation of Easter and those who have been around church all their lives, but some of it had to be the desperation factor. For them, it is just another Easter; for the new believer, it’s a celebration of the Event that rescued them from their desperate lives. It in’t that they are any more desperate than the others, they’re just more aware of it.
In his classic on the life of Christ, The Training of the Twelve, A. B. Bruce writes of the two disciples who met the resurrected Jesus on the road to Emmaus, “Their hearts were set a-burning when they had become very dry and withered: hopeless, sick, and life-weary through sorrow and disappointment. It is always so; the fuel must be dry that the spark may take hold. The truth is, the heart needs to be dried by trial before it can be made to burn.”
Easter is for those who get it that every experience of life apart from Christ is dried and withered. Easter is for those who admit that we would be hopeless, sick, and life weary apart from His mercy. Easter is for those desperate for resurrection power.
Are you aware of your desperate need for the resurrection?
“And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins.” -Paul, 1 Corinthians 15:17
Question: What are your day after Easter thoughts?