What’s the cash value of Easter, the resurrection, and the empty grave? Besides getting new Easter clothes and a day often filled with great cooking and huge meals, why does Easter matter? On Monday night in Bible study, the question about the practical value of Easter emerged. How do you live differently because of what God first did on Easter morning?
After we spent quite a bit of time in Stations of the Cross, traversing almost all of the Holy Week scripture texts, a student noted on how heavy this week is. YES. Absolutely. Jesus says goodbye to his closet disciples. Jesus is betrayed (by a close friend). Jesus is physically (and surely emotionally and psychologically )tortured, cross examined, and then unjustly punished to death. Without Easter, Holy Week feels like a huge downer. Following the story of Jesus entering Jerusalem (Palm Sunday) to washing his disciples’ feet (Maundy Thursday) to crucifixion (Good Friday) to burial in a tomb (Good Friday/Holy Saturday) to an empty grave (Easter Sunday) is an emotional roller coaster.
At the end of Holy Week, if our lives aren’t different because of what God did on Good Friday and Easter with Jesus, then we end up right where we left off. How do you show to your friends and family that you live in the wake of Easter (that God dying and rising in Jesus changes who you are and what you do)?
I heard it said Monday night that ‘hope’ is the way Christ followers live in the wake of Easter. Not the hopeful optimism when kids get excited about getting a puppy…but the kind of hope that says God is making a way where there seems to be no way. The kind of hope that says to a college student in tumultuous relationships that there can be peace. The kind of hope that says to a young boy that he is a child of God no matter the color of his skin. The kind of hope that says to a young woman that life is worth living despite the loneliness. The kind of hope for a marginalized community that says God loves you and isn’t done with you yet.
Next week, after Easter, how will you live differently as a person of hope?