Musicals. Dinners. Festivals. Parades. Special once-a-year bulletins. Food drives. Spiral-cut hams. Children’s programs. Bewildered congregation members wearing fake, itchy beards and robes and Styrofoam painted to look like the empty tomb. New dresses. Big hugs. “He is Risen!” “He is Risen, indeed.”
Easter is a big deal. And it should be. The commemoration of Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection is the truth and the miracle on which all our hope hinges; it should be celebrated. The reverence Christ was often denied in the flesh He will have now on these days of all days from the worldwide believers who have placed their faith in Him.
Easter matters. And it matters today on Good Friday, and it will matter on the waiting day of Saturday, and it will matter on blessed Sunday morning.
But what will Monday be?
The echoes of choir songs will have faded. We’ll be back in normal clothes. Church members will be cleaning up torn pieces of bulletins and empty plastic Easter eggs and rubbing off the remnants of Peter’s beard from their faces. In the let-down after the celebration, daily life will lurch back into gear.
This year, I’d like for that not to happen.
It strikes me sometimes that we Christians are great at events. We know how to do Easter. We know how to do Christmas. We can make killer dinners and plays and cookouts. But an event is not a ministry. An event is a specific thing that takes place at a certain time and place, and requires preparation only up until its fruition, and then ends. A ministry is an altogether different animal: an ongoing outreach that requires persistence, growth, commitment, with no set ending date. And as the event of Easter ends, it is my prayer that the silence afterward is not the culmination of the Easter ministry.
In a week, I’ll be starting a new six-week Bible study here. I chose that time in particular because of the temptation I always feel to go “back to normal” after Easter ends. I pray that you, too, will resist that temptation in whatever way is meaningful to you. Don’t consider Easter to be finished when you leave the church on Sunday. Easter is quite literally the beginning of everything; Christ’s sacrifice and resurrection authors everything we know of hope and life and love.
On Sunday evening, the Easter event will have ended. But what will your Easter ministry be from then on? How will you allow this moment to change you so that you can go on from here to love and care for others? If Easter is the culmination of the holy season, we have failed. In reality, Easter should give us the strength to go forward into the rest of the year with energy and enthusiasm – to dedicate ourselves to making a change in the world, and in others, and in ourselves.
May your weekend be blessed – and your ministry after, even more so.