Spreading joy and letting go of fear are just a few ways to commemorate Easter throughout the year.
Posted in , Apr 17, 2019
Easter, for many, is the colorful eggs, delicious peeps and a chance to don a pink bonnet. But for Christians, it is the holiest day of the year, the foundation of our faith, when everything in scripture is fulfilled and the laws of physics are broken to prove that anything is possible with God. On this day, all sin is forgiven and we become true sons and daughters of Christ. Although the pink bonnet goes back into the closet after all the eggs are found, the promises of the resurrection can endure throughout the year. The story of redemption can fill every moment of our lives with hope, if we know how to celebrate Easter every day.
1. Simply Believe
The response of Mary Magdalene, Joanna, and Mary, the mother of James at the empty tomb in Luke’s gospel is completely justified. “Huh?” “What the heck happened?” Two men say to them matter-of-factly, “He is not here. He is risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, to be crucified and on the third day be raised again” (Luke 24:6).
Easter is about believing—even when it’s hard. It’s about letting go of our requirement for an explanation and taking God’s word at face value.
2. Seek Aliveness
Being fully alive requires active participation in life. Celebrating Easter, then, means allowing ourselves to feel the range of human emotions, even if that’s uncomfortable at times. It also means looking for opportunities that make us feel alive or impassioned – activities where we become co-creators with God – whether that be a job, hobby or family life. Celebrating Easter involves pursuing our unique contribution to life and letting ourselves be inspired.
3. Spread Joy
In the Gospel of John, Jesus turns to Mary Magdalene and asks her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” Easter takes away our reasons to cry: Jesus is risen. Death is defeated. All sin is forgiven. We enjoy eternal life. Jesus charges Mary with the same task given to every disciple who arrives at the empty tomb: Go public. Spread joy. Spread Easter.
4. Be Open to Possibility
When the three women in Luke’s gospel learned that Jesus had risen, they immediately told the other apostles. Not surprisingly, no one believed them. “Their words seemed to them like nonsense” (Luke 24:11). Peter took initiative. He ran to the tomb to see for himself and found strips of linen lying by themselves.
Easter prods us to envision possibilities that are out of our realm of understanding, trusting that God has a master plan that makes sense. We need not fret about our humiliations and defeats. There is room for everything to be made whole and new in the resurrection. Celebrating Easter is about turning our gaze from where we think the answer lies, and getting out of the way so that miracles can happen. It’s about believing that good can come from our messes, and there is no such thing as a no-win situation.
5. Let Go of Fear
We become afraid when we don’t understand things. We classify our problems and frustrations into nice, tidy boxes. The resurrection narratives point us in another direction. In Matthew’s gospel, we hear the four words Do not be afraidtwice in one paragraph. An angel utters the phrase to Mary Magdalene and the other Mary the first time after the tombstone is rolled back, and Jesus says it again a few verses later. It is difficult not to give into anxiety; however, each time we abandon our fear, we celebrate Easter.
6. Recognize Jesus in Our Lives
Finally, we celebrate Easter by becoming more aware of Jesus’ presence in our lives, like the two men on the road to Emmaus. This twosome had traveled much of the path with the Son of God, but didn’t have a clue who he was. Only when Jesus breaks bread, his signature move, are their eyes opened and they recall those moments on the road when their hearts were burning (Luke 24:30-32). Celebrating Easter is being cognizant on the coincidences or heart-burning moments in our lives when we feel Jesus’ presence.
By cultivating joy, letting go of fear, being open to possibilities and recognizing Jesus in our lives, we can celebrate Easter throughout the year.