The big day has come and gone. Baby chicks, Easter eggs, chocolate, and the Easter festivities have once again passed. It's on to graduations, vacations and summer days. The 40 days of Lent are over and Easter is over, isn't it? Are you different this Monday after Easter Sunday?
This next thought may shock some of you but I've often speculated that the formal church is too focused on the cross of Christ. That's a disturbing sentence, I know, but hear me out! In our Christian culture, we are taught early in life about Jesus and his work on the cross. His beautiful and complete grace that covers our sin and selfishness and gives those who believe in Him eternal life. That is a Truth; for without His death we would be without hope, without life. However...
...is that where many of us stop? Do we stop our lives at Jesus' death on the cross? Oh, we celebrate Easter Sunday in our finery and with our families but can we say we're living Easter on Monday?
Could it be that we are living only half of the Good News? We call Friday of Holy week...Good Friday as it was good for us that Jesus gave His life so that we may live today and forever. But I contend that we are stuck on Good Friday. We are stuck in the pain and anguish of our own lives. We know what happened on Easter Sunday in Jesus' life but for some reason we have chosen to remain in a 'Friday' lifestyle. WHAT?
As Christ followers, we are invited to have our own Good Friday where our problems and our pain are put to death. And, then experience an Easter Sunday in which we receive new life! But we tend to stay in Friday and our pain from this world consumes our entire attention span. And life does hurt. It's hurts so badly to be rejected. It hurts so badly to lose people to death, particularly death that is violent and random. It hurts to see sickness and addiction in those we love. It hurts to have no one to love or to be loved by no one. It hurts to be lonely and isolated. We have forgotten what Sunday offers us and our pain!
...they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen! Luke 24:2-6He is not here! He has risen. That is the message the Bible teaches and that is the life we are offered...a way of real life and Joy in our Monday world. Jesus' message was certainly one of redemption and salvation and life eternal. AND, it was also a message of Joy, of overcoming, of living life to the fullest in the midst of earthly pain. We say we love Him and believe in this message but are we living it? Are we looking for the dead among the living? Do I keep looking at my dead pain instead of looking at my alive Joy? Easter is the day to celebrate that He has overcome our pain and loss. And, Easter is also the day to wake up and live life to the fullest. Yes, there is pain in our world but He has overcome this pain.
This is the Monday choice. No one can do this for me. I can stay tied up in my Good Friday pain, hurt, disappointments and insecurity. Or I can choose a new way....a way of living life to the fullest. Choosing an Easter Monday does not mean that I forget my pain; it simply means I choose Jesus over my pain. I choose to let Him use that pain so that I may help others. I choose to let Him use that pain to grow me into who He dreamed.
Hallelujah, He is not among the dead. He is alive! Are we brave enough to let go of our 'identity of pain' and choose the Joy He offers. He HAS overcome the world.
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33