So, on Monday, I shared how much I enjoyed Easter Sunday. What I didn’t mention was that I was a little surprised. You see, I can be one of those people who tend to think we shouldn’t need a “special day” every year to celebrate something that we should be celebrating every day. Do we really have to wait till Thanksgiving Day to be grateful? Do we have to wait for Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, etc to show our favorite people how much we care about them? Shouldn’t we be mindful every day of the amazing fact that God, the Son left His place in heaven to take the human form–even a newborn infant, a suffering servant, a crucified sin-bearer, and a risen savior?
But, then I get a day like this past Sunday. Even though I do try to be mindful of all we have because of Jesus, somehow it all came into an even sharper focus this past Easter.
On the family and fun side, two of my kids were able to come home for Easter dinner and brought a good friend from Gordon College. I even made a quick dash to the local CVS to pick up the usual bunnies and chocolate eggs. Even at my ripe old age, I can still remember waking up in my single-digit years and seeing the kitchen table filled with goodies. OK, so I do realize we are talking about a spiritual holiday, but family fun is good, too.
On the spiritual side, I began to ponder anew on the wonders of the resurrection and what that can mean and should mean in my daily life. In church, we sang one of my favorite contemporary hymns, “In Christ Alone”. I’ve heard and sung (joyfully, albeit poorly) those lyrics so many times. But somehow in the setting of an Easter service, the words were so powerful.
There in the ground His body lay,
Light of the world by darkness slain;
Then bursting forth in glorious day,
Up from the grave He rose again!
And as He stands in victory,
Sin’s curse has lost its grip on me;
For I am His and He is mine—
Bought with the precious blood of Christ
No guilt in life, no fear in death—
This is the pow’r of Christ in me;
From life’s first cry to final breath,
Jesus commands my destiny.
No pow’r of hell, no scheme of man,
Can ever pluck me from His hand;
Till He returns or calls me home—
Here in the pow’r of Christ I’ll stand.
“In Christ Alone”
Words and Music by Keith Getty & Stuart Townend
Copyright © 2001 Kingsway Thankyou Music
Do we really need a “religious holiday” to make us contemplate these great truths? As a pastor, I can tend to think these days are for everybody else–which is not necessarily bad. But, truth has to be a personal reality before it can be an outreach reality. Sometimes, we can drift in auto-pilot mode. We can even content, even grateful. But if we’re honest with ourselves, we’ve lost the spark. The fire may not be totally out, but certainly not ablaze.
Sometimes, it’s good for us to be reminded just how special something is. Let’s not allow ourselves to “not know what we’ve got till it’s gone.” How about you today? Is there something that you might be taking for granted? You might be generally ok, but that sense of joy and wonder is waning. You can tell you are just drifting along. In this context (of Easter) it might be a deep spiritual truth that you might believe, but not necessarily enjoy as much as you used to. Perhaps that grace doesn’t quite seem as amazing as it once did. If you’re married, are you still thanking God every day for your mate? Have you told them lately how crazy you are about them? Your kids? Your job? etc.
So, yes I did celebrate Easter–and I liked it too! Now, the next step is to bring that joy and excitement into the week after Easter. Tomorrow, we’ll look at living out the reality of the resurrection in the weeks and months after Easter.