Last Sunday, Christians celebrated the resurrection of Jesus with great joy. Lilies and lively music filled sanctuaries. Children hunted for chocolate-filled plastic eggs, and we made candy companies very happy.
But now, as the earless chocolate bunny stares at us from our desks, we wonder, “What’s next?”
The post-Easter Sunday season feels much like childhood post-summer-camp days. The week is an emotional high, and coming home is always a letdown. At the final night bonfires, we make teary annual re-commitments to God, but when we return home, emotion dissipates, and we return to “as was,” as if the campfire never happened.
“What’s next?”. Easter is over, so what is different, except for the consequences of too many chocolate eggs? What is different now that lilies are gone, and we go back to the same old music? What is different now that we no longer avoid eating meat on Fridays?
The problem is that we have made Easter into a ritual. But now that ritual is over, and we act like it never happened, Easter has no lasting impact on our faith or life. Although we chanted “Christ is risen,” the “Risen Christ” is nowhere to be found.
The Church has announced to the world that Jesus is alive, so now the world is waiting for the Church to produce a living Jesus. We promised the world a new life in Christ, and the world is now waiting for Christians to be the people of peace and harmony. The Church told the world that there is freedom in Jesus, and so now the world is waiting for the Church to work to remove every yoke of oppression and be the leading voice for economic, social, and racial justice. We told the world that Jesus accepts everyone, so it is time for us to remove hatred, racism, homophobia, and misogyny from the Church and show that there is no Jew, Gentile, man, woman, sinner, or saint in the eyes of Jesus.
The Season of Easter is the moment of reckoning for the Church as we now have to make good on our promises and deliver to the world a “living Jesus.” We owe the world a “Jesus.” While we may not be able to do miracles, we can feed the hungry; while we may not be able to heal illnesses, we can comfort the sick; while we cannot fix life’s problems, we can restore hope to the hopeless; and while we cannot remove the cause of the mourning, we can mourn with the mourning; while we cannot undo past pains caused by others, we can offer unconditional acceptance in the name of Jesus. Christians must be the living Jesus in the world.
Easter season is not the time to focus on the empty tomb, but it is the time to focus on bringing Jesus to live among the people. Easter season is not the season of the empty words on how to avoid hell, but it is a season for the people of God to live out what we say we believe.
This is the season of living Jesus in the world; this is the season of the people of God living among the people bringing hope, joy, love, grace, and peace.
“What’s next?” Real-life is next.
“What’s next?” Faith lived out, in reality, is next.