An Unfamiliar Easter
For Christians, and now even just Americans in general, Easter is one of the biggest holidays of the year. For the average American it’s a day when you feel obligated to attend a church service, eat lunch with your whole family and maybe give some chocolate to your kids.
And I think that as Christians we like to think that we hold Easter more dearly because of the resurrection of our Lord and savior, but when push comes to shove, we’ve played our part in commercializing the day too.
Because Easter is a day when we KNOW that more people will be attending church. Moms bringing their kids and husbands, families bringing aunts and uncles and grandparents, singles who haven’t been to church in years finding themselves somewhere they swore to never go again.
And higher attendance means a lot of good things for churches. It means more tithes and offerings, more attention and publicity, and hopefully more hearts ready to receive the gospel.
But not this Easter…
No, this Easter there were no thronging masses, no grandiose gatherings, no superfluous services…
Only the quiet anticipation and longing for things to be made right.
As Corey Widmer of Third Church said, it was almost like that first Easter morning. Before anyone realized the great miracle that had taken place, there was only mourning. A quiet longing for God to right the terrible wrong that had been done.
When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus’ body. 2 Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb 3 and they asked each other, “Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?”
4 But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away. 5 As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed.
6 “Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. 7 But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.’”
8 Trembling and bewildered, the women went out and fled from the tomb. They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid (Mark 16 NIV).
This is not the Easter morning that most of us are now used to, but I have a feeling that this Easter may be the closest to it we’ve ever been.
So if this Easter you were feeling a little bit gypped, as though something great had been unjustly taken away…I want to encourage you that what we lost this Easter may have been more of a gift than a loss. Because we got to experience Easter in such a true and genuine way!
No huge events…no flashy services…
Just a quiet joy and hope that Christ has risen.
He has risen indeed.