Easter: After the Sugar-High
The eggs have been successfully hunted down with precision.
The sugar highs have turned into sugar crashes.
The pastel dresses and nicely pressed suits are hung/thrown back into the closet.
The bunny ears are stored neatly to frighten children again next year.
The Easter lilies are… somewhere.
The day after Easter is referred to by many as “Bright Monday” or “Renewal Monday” – a time to focus specifically on celebrating the resurrection of Christ in victory over sin and death. Other cultures refer to today as “White Monday”, “Unlucky Black Monday”, “Splash Monday”, and even simply “Eggroll” (I’m as surprised as you are).
Like many holidays – the dreaded “day after, week after, month after, etc.” can be difficult to navigate for many. There is a strange wall that a lot of us will hit after the songs have been sung, the brunch has been devoured, and we climb back into our ’97 Geo Metro and head to the office once again.
So what do we do with the days and moments after Resurrection Sunday? Where do we put the whirlwind of emotions and nostalgia? How do Easter People realistically live in a Good Friday world?
It is a time to ask, “What’s next?”
Author and Pastor Brian Zahnd asks some compelling questions regarding the power of the resurrection and the language we use to understand it in the here and now.
He asserts that Easter is not simply a nice and pleasant ending to the Gospel narrative, but rather, the inauguration of new life, in a new way. Here’s what I mean by that.
Have you ever noticed that we’re given a good a good amount of detail surrounding the events that led to Jesus’ death, but absolutely no information regarding his resurrection? Nothing.
The Bible simply declares that it happened.
Pastor Zahnd suggest that this is due to an inability to adequately articulate such an event in its fullness. He puts it this way:
“They can describe crucifixion, because it belongs to the old age of Death. But resurrection belongs to the age of New Creation.”
And this is the age that you and I live in today.
At the cross of Jesus Christ all of the evil, wickedness, and violence converged on to this one point; which was and is Christ Jesus. Satan, sin, and death did their very worst to him – and he was able to exhaust its force!
This is Good News.
When Jesus declared from the cross, “It is finished!” – he didn’t simple mean, “This happened” – but rather, “this happened, is still happening, and is forever done.”
This is Good News indeed.
In light of this, the swagger of 1 Corinthians 15 makes all the more sense,
“O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” – 1 Corinthians 15:55
I can remember “playing” basketball as a kid and having someone much more skilled than I offer an all-too-common taunt.
“Is that all you got?” they would, I assume rhetorically, ask. And deep in my soul I knew the answer to that question. “Uhhh – yup. That is, in fact, ‘all I got.’ How did you know?”
Upon leaving the tomb, I like to think that Jesus had just a dollop of this kind of strut to him.
“Is that all you got?” he’d say to Satan. “Because, as far as I can tell, that tomb is empty and I’m having breakfast with my friends.”
So, for the Christ follower, Easter is not simply a day in history to celebrate. It’s not even just a sumptuous celebration of the promise of an afterlife with Him somewhere else.
It is the inauguration of new life, new creation, and new possibilities right here and now. We are no longer bound to a system of victory by force – because the Alpha and Omega is not simply the God behind us from which all things spring. He is also the God who has gone before us, who holds the possibilities of who He longs for us to become.
Scholar and Anglican bishop N.T. Wright puts it well:
“The point of the resurrection…is that the present bodily life is not valueless just because it will die. What you do with your body in the present matters because God has a great future in store for it. What you do in the present—by painting, preaching, singing, sewing, praying, teaching, building hospitals, digging wells, campaigning for justice, writing poems, caring for the needy, loving your neighbor as yourself—will last into God’s future. These activities are not simply ways of making the present life a little less beastly, a little more bearable, until the day when we leave it behind altogether They are part of what we may call building for God’s kingdom.” ―N.T. Wright
So take heart, dear brothers and sisters – for we are Easter People living in a Good Friday world, but God is not done with us yet. Take heart – for God is redeeming and restoring all around us. Take heart – for we are invited to be co-conspirators with the God of the universe to usher in His kingdom here and now.
Take heart. Open your eyes. And join the chorus.
We are the Resurrection People and Hosanna is our song.
“Happy are those who hear the joyful call to worship, for they will walk in the light of your presence, Lord. They rejoice all day long in your wonderful reputation. They exult in your righteousness.” – Psalm 89:15-16