The new Easter dresses and ties have been put in the hamper. The Easter ham has been turned into leftover sandwiches. The last Easter egg has been found – or, if it hasn’t, the nose will find it on the next hot day. The Peep-induced sugar crash has (almost) subsided. Easter is over.
It’s the morning after.
We can now indulge in chocolate or Facebook or whatever else we gave up for Lent and go back to our normal routine.
Even we church leaders may find ourselves relieved to go back to life as normal, now that the work of Easter is over.
But, thanks be to God, it is not.
Every year around Easter many documentaries and news articles, secular and otherwise, address the question: Do we believe Jesus rose from the dead? It’s an important question. But Duke Divinity School professor and author Stanley Hauerwas challenges us to consider another question that is equally important, if not more so: “The problem, after all, is not belief in the resurrection, but whether we live lives that would make no sense if, in fact, Jesus has not been raised from the dead.”
On the secular calendar, Easter is a day. On the church calendar, it is a season. But for the follower of Jesus, Easter is a lifestyle. In other words, it is our “normal” routine.
Because Jesus calls us, not just to believe the resurrection, but to live it.
He even gives us a specific place where we are to live the resurrection. When the women arrive at the tomb and hear that Jesus has been raised, they are told: “But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you’” (Mark 16:7).
Galilee was the hometown of the women and the disciples. It was the place of their daily routine – their chores, their work, their studies, their mealtimes, their family relationships, their waking and their sleeping. But in addition to being their home base, “Galilee of the Gentiles” (Matthew 4:15) was also the launch pad for Jesus’ mission to make disciples of all nations.
That’s where we are told to go and see Jesus – the Galilee’s of our homes and the Galilee’s of our community and world. In the places in our lives and in the places of the world’s lives, in every place where hope seems dead, we are called to declare the tomb is empty – by daring to live in ways that make no earthly sense, save that the Savior lives.
Howard Thurman’s powerful poem “The Work of Christmas” reminds us that Christmas does not end on the day after Epiphany. His message is equally timely on this day after Easter:
When the last note of “Jesus Christ Is Risen Today” has been sung, when the last chocolate bunny has been eaten, when the lilies have wilted…
…the work of Easter begins.
It’s time to go and see Jesus in Galilee.