Why Are You Seeking the Living Among the Dead?
A call to action on this post-Easter Thursday
Easter was incredible, wasn’t it? Packed church, trumpets and lilies, powerful sermon, favorite Easter hymns, all followed by family gatherings, egg hunts, ham and chocolate and the warmth of the sun promising Spring is here. We survived Lent, lamented on Good Friday and then Sunday came! Glorious Easter Sunday!
Remember? Last Sunday? The truth is, for many of us, by midweek the ham is getting old, the lilies are starting to wilt, the Easter bulletin is in the recycle bin and the chocolate candy is all but a memory. And what about our Easter zeal? What about the heightened sense of joy and celebration that swelled our spirit? Are they melting away faster than Sunday’s lime Jello-mold?
Then perhaps there is a message for us in the statement the angel said to the women at the tomb as they stood pondering their response to the resurrection. In Luke 24, the angel seems somewhat annoyed. Verse 5 sounds more like a scolding than an inquiry. To paraphrase, the angel says, “Why are you standing around in this place of death? Go out and meet Jesus among the living.” In other words, “Don’t stay here!! There is only death in this place, there’s nothing for you here. The abundant life Jesus came to give you is found in going, telling, proclaiming and witnessing. Go share what you have seen and heard among the living and Jesus will meet you there!!”
I fear we have too many ‘empty tomb churches’ filled with timid followers who dare not venture far from Easter. They want safety, assurance and control over their journey of faith. They sing ‘He is Risen’ on Sunday but hide their faith and cloister themselves from the challenges of an increasingly hostile culture the rest of the week. Called and redeemed to be fishers of men, they choose instead to be keepers of the aquarium.
What is your Easter response? We’ve come off the mountaintop, so what do we do now?
Perhaps on this post-Easter Thursday (it has no official liturgical name, I might suggest ‘Let Down Thursday’ but I doubt it will catch on), we can learn from the response of those same women in Matthew 28. Their action was immediate, passionate and unequivocal. They did not hesitate, they ‘hurried away from the tomb’. They did not saunter, they ‘ran to tell His disciples.’ They did not ponder, discuss or seek a second opinion. They were fully engaged in their response. And that’s when they found Jesus. Only after they left to go and tell. Only after they moved from the emotional realization that Christ had risen to the work of telling the story. On the way, in their joy, rushing to tell…that’s when they met Jesus!
How about us? Will this post-Easter Thursday be just another lackluster day in just another ho-hum week? Or have we been changed? Has the empty tomb filled our hearts with a joy that must be expressed, shared – shouted even. Will those around you today see the Easter wonder in your words, attitudes and actions. Will the world witness in you what it looks like when a heart has been transformed and a spirit refreshed and renewed with the good news of the gospel?
What will be your Easter response?
He is risen – He is risen indeed!