Sigh. It’s over. Life is back to normal…people working, children studying, blah blah blah.
If only Easter could last all year!
Unbeknownst to some, Easter actually kicks off 40 days prior when we have the annual competition of Lent, where we see who can temporarily sacrifice the most. We have Palm Sunday, where we get to wave palm fronds around and sing fun songs. We have Holy Week, which isn’t nearly as exciting as it should be… but then comes Good Friday! Which is actually bad because Jesus died but also good because he died for us, or something like that. Good Friday is a sad day where we go to church and sing funeral like songs and reflect on Jesus’ death. Saturday is a filler day. Then it’s Easter Sunday!! The moment we’ve all been waiting for! We wake up, put on our new Easter Sunday clothes (usually in a variety of pastel colors a la Spring Fashion). We go to church where we sing some more joyous songs, everyone’s happy, we take Communion to celebrate in Jesus’ sacrifice, we probably sing some more, and then we go home. Usually our families gather together for this super-Christian day and we all eat a fantastic feast, maybe even search for Easter eggs, delight in Peeps and chocolate eggs, and then crash into a happy sleep at the end of the day.
While I exaggerate, isn’t there some truth to what I’ve described? Honestly, this is what I thought of Easter for much of my childhood. Thankfully, I’ve come to a deeper realization about Easter in my adulthood. Easter truly is the most inspirational and pensive time of year. What other time of year do we all intentionally ponder, marvel and cry at the sacrifice of Jesus? Easter is the pinnacle of both deep sadness and overwhelming hope. But Easter is a journey, not a moment, in which we walk along in the grayness of death (Lent), lift high Jesus as our Savior (Palm Sunday), grieve at his tomb (Good Friday), and rejoice at his resurrection and his victory over the Enemy (Easter).
Worldwide, this is a time of year where Christians become vocal about their faith, serious in what they believe, and not afraid to say it. “This is what Christianity is all about,” we say. Together, we take part in the Eucharist to communally proclaim Jesus as the bread of Life and the light of Truth. We cry together, laugh together, sing together, believe together. This is the Church.
But now what? Easter is done. The familiar rhythm of life has started up once more. We are once again caught up in the wheel of surviving day to day life. Soon, the Easter lilies in our vases will whither away and die. Soon, the leftovers from Easter dinner will be eaten, our new Sunday clothes will be stored away, the Peeps all eaten. Spring will turn to summer. Time will pass and Easter will be nothing more than a faint memory…
How do we keep Easter alive in our hearts?
I too feel the joy and tension that exists in and around Easter. Each year I find myself filled with many thoughts and emotions. I think that’s a good thing. One way I attempt to keep Easter alive in my heart is to see that there are 51 other Sunday’s to gather with others to celebrate that Jesus is alive. As I understand it, that is the primary reason Christians gather to worship on Sundays… because they are to be seen as mini-easters. It is meant to help us say in our hearts, mind, and bodies, “oh yeah, Jesus is alive and that makes all the difference! Let’s celebrate!”