Pope Francis tweeted a few days ago some thoughts on Easter and the Resurrection, (yes, the Pope uses twitter and often!)
“Let us meditate with wonder and gratitude on the great mystery of the Lord’s Resurrection.”
“Since Christ is resurrected, we can look with new eyes and a new heart at every event of our lives, even the most negative ones.”
Then I read another tweet from an article that said,
“Easter is only a hiccup in the day to day life of most Christians.”
Writing this letter to you my friends just two weeks after my church family shared in their Easter Celebration, I had to pause and ask myself some honest questions, like what does Easter mean to me and is it only a hiccup in my day to day life as well?
Because, for a church family, there is a lot of build up and honestly a lot of work that goes into the whole Lenten preparation, Holy Week observances and Easter celebration. In my church family, so many worked so very hard so we could have the experiences we did and grow in our trust and walk with Jesus.
Then Easter comes and goes and the week after is a little bit of a let down while Easter slowly leaves our minds until Spring next year.
Personally, I wondered, outside of the burst of activity that is the 3 or so months of Easter, how often does the Resurrection of Jesus Christ come into my own mind and heart, meditating on the great wonder of it all?
Contrast, these questions with how the disciples of Jesus Christ felt before and after the Resurrection. From a historical stand point this is one of the many places that echoes the veracity of the Resurrection event. These disciples went from cowering and fearful followers of a (as they saw it at the time) a failed and crucified teacher who would even flat out deny they even knew Jesus to amazingly bold and eager witnesses of the Resurrected Savior.
Simply, these changes do not happen, especially as some would say, if the resurrection was merely a mass delusion or psychotic break or a fabricated tale and conspiracy. These eye witnesses of the Resurrection, not just the close disciples, but over 500 that we know of, not including all of the women and many that we don’t, their lives were completely changed; from fearful to fearless, their life goal became to share the good news that God keeps His promises and those promises are fulfilled in Jesus of Nazareth who was crucified and on the third day rose from the dead.
It was their life’s purpose to share this good news, even if it meant brutal execution and death for sharing that same good news. But still they shared the good news because something happened so life-changing that even the threat of and actual experiences of torture and brutal death could not compare to how important the Resurrection was.
Consider Peter, that Peter, the one who was dressed down by a little girl and repeatedly denied ever knowing Jesus. This same Peter after the Resurrection burst into a crowded square in Jerusalem surrounded by all of the people who killed Jesus and wanted to kill him, speaking these words:
“Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know— this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it… This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses.” Acts 2:22-24, 32
The great mystery and wonder of the Resurrection would eventually conquer and outlast even the Roman Empire and be proclaimed for over 2,000 years by countless men, women and children (Many of whom in the beginning saw the resurrection with their own eyes) across the world, that, Christ is Risen. Christ is Risen indeed, alleluia!
But, as the question must always happen, what about you and me? Because, like Peter and the other disciples, this is personal, this has to do with me and how I live my life. Is Easter simply a hiccup in my own day to day life or does it give to me new eyes and a new heart to meditate with wonder and gratitude the mystery of the Resurrection?
I know, I’ve treated Easter in the past like it was simply a hiccup, a blip on the radar of all of the more important things happening in my life. I’m sorry the Resurrection was like that to me for longer than I like to admit. How much needless worry and care I experienced not acknowledging the eternal hope and promises of God. How much time I wasted on worry about my own insecurities and fears instead of finding my security and comfort in the Resurrected Lord. How many opportunities I missed in my own personal growth and how many opportunities I missed to share that same hope with the people I love.
But I know that in my savior there is forgiveness for my own neglect of this blessed hope and the promise that I have new eyes and a new heart that is capable and indeed eager to meditate upon the Resurrection with gratitude and to view every moment of my own life through that same hope. It is my prayer for you dear friends that our wonderful hope and promise of Easter is not a hiccup in your day to day life but the defining truth that you see yourself and your whole world through.
Christ is Risen!