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Pastor’s Note


Is Easter Over Already?

I walked into the sanctuary Monday morning after Easter, and it felt very quiet and empty. The beautiful flowers and the cross were still there, but the lights were off, the steps were empty where there had been dozens of kids dressed in colorful clothes, and silence replaced the joyful songs of praise that filled the room the day before. Was Easter over already?

Maybe you have felt that way after Easter before. All the joy and excitement, all the festive celebrations and family gatherings, all the special church services and fancy clothes, end quickly and things go back to “normal” again. And by “normal,” of course, we mean the drudgery of back to school the next day, back to work the next day, back to Jesus being relegated to an afterthought—not the focus of the day (Ouch … that may have been a little too honest!).

As I turned to walk out of the sanctuary, I noticed the large, orange plastic Easter egg I had used in the Children’s Moment. It was lying there open—still empty as it had been the day before as an illustration of Jesus’ empty tomb. The tomb is still empty, I thought. Jesus is still alive today as much as he was yesterday. You can’t be a little bit alive or a little bit dead—our Savior is either still dead or eternally alive, not somewhere in between!

If Easter is worth celebrating at all, then it is worth celebrating the Monday and the month after Easter as much as the day of. If it’s not worth celebrating the rest of the year (if Jesus is not the living and reigning King, if he didn’t really rise from the dead), then we should stop pretending to be joyful and religious even on Easter Sunday. But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead—nevermore to die—so today, wherever you are as you read this and whatever situation you’re facing, the reality of his cross and his empty tomb must make a difference.

You’ll see in the rest of this issue of Branches just a few examples of what that could mean for you. The center spread discusses what it looks like for us to follow in the steps of Jesus in suffering and sacrifice—with a cross before an empty tomb. Perhaps serving with a partner ministry here in Huntsville would be a way to live out the reality of serving a risen King. Certainly God will call some of us to share the good news of Easter with the next generation of young people in our own congregation. Maybe joining a small group with other broken people who point each other to a living Savior for hope would be what God has for you.

But regardless of what specifically lies ahead for you or what you’re facing today, none of us who celebrated Easter on March 27 should fail to celebrate it today. Jesus is still alive today, our only hope for eternity hasn’t changed, and our primary purpose for this life remains the same: There’s a gracious King who lives to see his kingdom extended in hearts, lives, and communities everywhere to the ends of the earth. If Easter Sunday is all about him, so is today.

So if you’re not ready for Easter to be over yet, I’ve got good news for you … it’s not, and it never will be! Darkness will come again, more painful days may be ahead, but the hope of a risen Savior must color every moment of every day for the rest of eternity, or it colors none at all.