by Lilly Lewin
We are approaching the second Sunday of Easter. And Orthodox Easter Sunday is this weekend April 8th. So if you’ve felt like you’ve missed out on Easter or not really had a chance to celebrate or engage Easter and the Resurrection, you aren’t too late. Maybe you are just recovering from a long week of Holy Week services, or a lot of time with family, or a holiday that now means laundry and catch up at the office or home. Too often in contemporary church land, we have forgotten that Easter is a season not just one day. Eastertide, or the season of Easter is the period in time between now and the day of Pentecost when the gift of the Holy Spirit is given. That is May 20th this year. So we can start today and embrace Easter and take time to find and reflect on Resurrection and what that means to us.
Resurrection is a process, not just one day of celebration. In fact, there were a lot of other emotions that would better reflect on the Resurrection than celebration. Mary goes to the tomb expecting to find the body of her friend and savior and wondering how in the world they can move the stone away from the tomb so they can further embalm him. Peter and the other disciples are certain they will be next on the Roman hit list, or that of the Pharisees, so they are in hiding. Thomas has gone his own way, perhaps needing to be outside to process what he’s just experienced in witnessing the death of his friend. On that first Easter morning, no one expected the Resurrection. In their grief, they were all caught of guard.
How about you? How are you experiencing Resurrection and Easter this year?
The beautiful thing about Jesus is that He knows us and loves us in the midst of wherever we are on our journey and in whatever state we find ourselves emotionally and physically. I told students last week that Jesus isn’t afraid of our fears, or our doubts, or even our anger towards Him. He loves us so much more than we can imagine! Jesus wants relationship with us! He invites us to be real and honest with Him.
How are you feeling about Resurrection this year?
Are you feeling bold or more afraid? Are you hiding or going boldly to the tomb?
Maybe you too are wondering who will roll away the stone? What stone is blocking your way today? What is the stone that you need rolling away in order to see Jesus? In order to experience Resurrection? Find a stone to use as a symbol of the stone that needs moving. Talk to Jesus about this.
Are you hiding? or Feeling scared?
Are you missing the signs? Or just missing in action, not in the room where it happens? Talk to Jesus about this.
Are you feeling like Thomas, that you need to actually touch Jesus’s scars?
Take time to imagine this and talk to Jesus.
What things would help you recognize Jesus? What thing would help you have new eyes to see the resurrected Jesus? After seeing that the body was no longer in the tomb, Mary didn’t recognize Jesus. She wasn’t able to see Him until Jesus spoke her name. Maybe you need Jesus to speak your name so you can see Him and recognize Him today. Talk to Him about this. Give Jesus your old eyesight and ask for new eyes to see Him and new hands to touch Him.
Who is Jesus inviting you to tell or announce Resurrection? Who in your life needs to know that death is conquered? Maybe that person is you!
Our hope in Easter is that we no longer have to be afraid. We don’t have to hide anymore! Jesus is truly RISEN, and DEATH IS CONQUERED! We are now invited into a new adventure of Kingdom Living! A new way to live! An Adventure of living in Hope, Joy, Peace and Love! How does that feel? What adventure would you like to go on with Jesus in this new Easter Season? Where would you like to be in your relationship and in your life with Jesus by Pentecost? Take some time today to consider this. Journal about this. Sit with the questions.
Here are a few resources to help you engage Easter this year.
Vanderbilt Divinity School has put together slide shows to go with the gospel lessons that include great art! even if you don’t use these in worship, they are great for personal reflection. Slide show
Rob Bell has a wonderful podcast on Easter called “She thought he was the Gardner”
And my good friend Kara Root who is a Presbyterian pastor in Minneapolis posted her thoughts on not really feeling Easter this year. Blogpost
And another friend of mine Fr. Dixon Kinser did a great sermon using Art as symbols of Resurrection. check out his youtube video
Why not find a symbol that helps you remember Resurrection and New Life in Jesus. Maybe it’s a branch with new buds, maybe it is some tulip bulbs you can watch grow and bloom, maybe it’s a photo or an art piece. You choose.
And have a wonderful time finding Easter!