Our choir members’ voices are shot.
Seriously. They sang at the Good Friday cantata, and then performed on Easter morning, and now their voices are gone. Most of the members I heard talking could only manage hoarse whispers. I don’t blame them one bit; the emotional intensity of the services had them singing their hearts out. Now they’re greeting a new week with little more than a rasp.
I see it in the pastoral staff, too: the good-natured weariness that comes from sustained and pleasant work. Most of them have had their extrovert dials turned up to 11 this week regardless of whether or not they’re actually extroverts, and most of them look like they need a good long nap.
Depending on the relative busy-ness of your Easter, you might feel the same. It’s natural; Easter is a time of high emotional intensity and, for some, many events. Maybe you’re peopled out. Maybe you’re exhausted from endless serving and doing. Maybe the emotions of the past week have you spiritually wrung-out.
I think for many church people, the spring-and-summer period following Easter often serves as a vacation of sorts. Pastors start wearing casual clothes on Sunday mornings. Sometimes the full church choir adjourns for a season. There’s a sense that everything is “done” until the fall when important holy times kick back up again, and congregations as a whole experience losses as their members depart for vacations and family reunions and weekends at the lake.
It’s true that people need a rest after the emotional intensity of Easter. But it’s also true that “rest” shouldn’t mean “take a vacation from God until fall.” How do you handle the exhale after Easter? Here are a few ideas:
1. Turn inward. Easter is a time of predominately outward and collective celebration. Because of that, and because of all the requisite going and doing, it’s easy to get caught up in externals – and to forget to tend to our individual, reflective spiritual lives. After Easter, get your time with God in order, focus on your individual spiritual walk, and let things be just you-and-God for a while.
2. Let the introverts introvert. I speak for all introverts when I say we are so peopled out right now. We need to go and sit alone for a while and read a book. We probably do not want to go out to lunch three times this week. In fact, most of us are looking for any excuse to clear our calendars and just breathe. Let us go and recharge quietly without wondering aloud where our enthusiasm has gone or why we don’t want to hang out with fifty of our closest friends.
3. Follow up. If there were guests or visitors to your church for Easter and you met them or you became acquainted with them, don’t leave them to languish this week! Check in on them with a “hi” or a “how are you,” or just thank them for coming. Let them know you remember they exist now that the service is over.
4. Thank people. If you were moved by the soloist at the cantata or loved your pastor’s sermon or were blown away by your Aunt Grace’s baked ham, send a note or a text. Let ’em know.
5. Anticipate something new. The joy of Easter and Christmas is partially the structure: the season is set up so that we participate in a lot of activities and reflection leading up to a momentous occasion. In summer, that sort of dissipates, so why not recreate it for yourself? Determine what your “summer season” will be and what spiritual activity or theme you’ll embrace for it. Do you want to spend a summer learning about the fruit of the spirit? Bettering your prayer life? Beginning a ministry or tackling some books or a new concept? Make a plan for what the next few months will bring that comes to fruition around the fall, and you’ll be less likely to fall off the wagon of discipline and spiritual focus now that all the decorations have been put away.
Above all, realize that “rest” and “spiritual growth” are not mutually exclusive terms. We can relax and take a breather after the activity of Easter while still growing closer to God and developing our relationship with Him. Don’t forget God as the spring stretches on and as summer approaches; He’s eager to develop the seeds only recently planted in your life.