Christ is risen! Lent is over! The long wait has come to its glorious climax, and we are all gratefully relieved to have emerged from the drawn-out Lenten fast into the Alleluia season!
But now, it’s been over a week since Easter Sunday.
By now, that Easter joy has probably settled into the ordinary rhythm of life. It seems that, however good we may be at giving things up, at going around with a penitential Lenten mentality, we tend to be… fairly mediocre at keeping up the more exuberant Easter mentality. To be fair, it does make sense. For one thing, we live in a culture that regards any holiday buildup as culminating with one single great day of celebration. It celebrates that one day, and then, it moves on. (Christmas is an excellent example of this phenomenon.) For another thing, the physical reality of our own bodies, with their emotions and hormones, doesn’t maintain a constant state of euphoria very well. No matter how wonderful the good news, no matter how joyful the celebration, we cannot help but settle back into that ordinary mindset, returning to those ordinary annoyances, anxieties, and complaints.
As I’ve said, it makes sense. It’s understandable.
But it’s not ideal.
And as a matter of fact, it’s actually the opposite of what we’re called to.
You’ll notice, if you take a look at the liturgical calendar, that the Easter season lasts a whole 50 days, eclipsing Lent’s 40-day length.
And all throughout the Scriptures, you’ll notice a certain constant refrain. God may punish sin justly up to a point – but His mercy will outlast any punishment by a thousandfold (Ex. 20:5-6, Ps. 30:5, Is. 54:6-8)! Mourning may last for a moment, but when the time for rejoicing comes, it comes like a crashing wave, overwhelming and overabundant!
All this to say: Christ has risen. He has won the victory over death, sin, and despair. It’s only right that we celebrate it properly! In fact, God Himself invites us to join the heavenly festivities in honour of this, the greatest event in all of history – and if you’ve ever read the parable of the Prodigal Son, or the tail end of the book of Revelation, you know that divine parties are like nothing else.
So – how do we keep with the spirit of that heavenly Paschal party? I’ll offer three suggestions, just to get the conversation started.
Don’t bash it for being shallow and external. As human beings, we are both body and soul – and our material surroundings make a huge impact on the attitude we take to life.
It doesn’t need to take much. A few Easter flowers here and there – silk or fresh, whatever you like – can help set the mood. Decorative Easter eggs can be used in all sorts of creative ways – as centerpieces, for example, or as little bouquet-additions. And what about those palms you got on Passion Sunday? Display them proudly! Now that we’re on the other side of the Passion, they’re a great little sign of Christ’s victory.
What were the risen Christ’s first words to His followers? “Do not be afraid.” (Matt. 28:10) “Peace be with you.” (Lk. 24:36)
How in the world are we supposed to witness to this if we live in a constant state of anxiety? And with His victory over all our greatest oppressors, how can we live in fear?
Show that you trust in Christ’s victory. Make it a priority to kick anxiety out of your life. Yes – it can be challenging. But let Him in on that challenge. Bring it to Him in prayer. He is here to free you of it, and to bring you into an abundant life, lived in the joy of His resurrection!
Having risen from the dead, and having appeared to His followers, what was Christ’s great command? “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to the whole creation.” (Mk. 16:15)
No, we are not exempt. In fact, as the Body of Christ and His Church, this is our central mission!
In what ways does God call you to witness to His victory? What unique gifts has He entrusted you with in order to bring the Gospel to those around you? Again, bring it to Him in prayer.
And, above all, let Him kindle in you a joy that is contagious!
He is risen! Yes, He is risen indeed!
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