I concluded my last post with the statement, “Easter shouldn’t sneak up on us and it shouldn’t be merely another day. It should be the highlight of our calendar year and the celebration of our whole lives.”
That is a statement that I truly believe and I truly believe it to be true. I find it telling that last week’s post got dramatically fewer hits than post in the previous weeks. It appears as if Easter really doesn’t mean much to us. How can we change that? How can we reclaim Easter? I’ll suggest a few ideas.
1. We need the ability to explain what the Easter holiday means. I would guess that a majority of the people we are around everyday do not know what Easter means or why some public schools don’t have classes the Friday before Easter. I would also guess that a majority of Christians wouldn’t feel comfortable in trying to explain what Easter means. We need the ability to explain what Easter means and what it means to us.
2. We need a better theological understanding of what Easter means. The reason, I believe, that a majority of Christians wouldn’t feel comfortable explaining the meaning of Easter is because words and concepts like “resurrection” and “atonement” don’t come up in ordinary, daily conversation. And, as a whole, our churches have done a poor job of equipping Christians with a theological understanding vital concepts like “redemption,” “justification,” “atonement,” and “resurrection.”
3. We need theologians who will explore new ways in which the Resurrection impact and influences the life and the world in which we live. What does the Resurrection mean for the new racial tension in our country? How does the Resurrection influence social causes? What does it means for our finances, our families, our vocations? We need to explore these afresh.
4. Make every Sunday about the Resurrection. The reason the Christian Church meets together on Sunday (the first day of the week) is because that is the day Jesus rose from the dead. Every Sunday should be a reminder and a celebration of the Resurrection.
5. Finally, each of us should engage in some personal reflection on the events, the power and the personal meaning of Easter. Our culture has lost the ability to spend time in quiet meditation. Our lives are filled with noise and distractions- I’m writing this while getting the oil changed in my car and in a space under 500 square feet, there are five TVs playing a least three different programs. During this Holy Week, find some time to quietly reflect upon Easter.
The goal of reclaiming the meaning of Easter should not result in another mythical proclamation like a “War on Christmas.” I don’t believe that there is some group trying to destroy the meaning of Easter through pastel colors, bunnies, chicks and marshmallow peeps. I believe that the world would truly want to hear the message of the Resurrection if they believed that it meant something and if they saw that our God really is alive. God tells the prophet Zechariah that when God comes to live with his people, “ten men from all the nations will grasp the garment of a Jew [a believer], saying, “Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.””
Easter tells us that God did and has come to live with us- in fact, God lives inside of every believer. The Resurrection also tells us that we now live with God (Ephesians 2). If those around us knew that God was with us, perhaps then the words of Zechariah would become true in our day.