The Opposite of Eager Anticipation

I really look forward to Easter. Our Worship Leader asked us this morning during rehearsal WHY we look forward to Easter, especially in the area of leading worship. I thought for a long time about, and just now (4 hours later) came up with the answer. Because I know what happens!

Let me give you a little glimpse into the inner workings of my psyche.  Being the ever optimistic person that I am, I often times watch movies that I’ve seen before and actually find myself hoping that someone will make a different/better choice that changes the movie. Like in “Star Wars III,” I find myself almost willing Anakin Skywalker to choose the Light Side of the Force, even though I’ve seen the movie 100’s of times!  I am usually, if not always, a “glass half full” kinda guy.

I look forward to Easter, and specifically the celebration with the rest of the Body of Christ, because I know He came back from the dead, putting my optimistic slant to it. Now, I’m not saying He didn’t come back from the dead nor am I pleading a case for wishing He had done something different. But I realized this morning that The Disciples had a much different Easter, riddled with doubt, sorrow, pain, and mourning. For them it was different.  Huddled together in a room one Saturday morning, they were plagued by trepidation and fear! I can imagine how they felt, almost trying to impose their will on the reality of their situation and force a different outcome. What I experience this Saturday morning is an eager anticipation of what tomorrow holds. What they experienced so long ago was just the opposite. Most of us can relate somewhat to the aftermath of losing a loved one. That “let down” when the funeral is over, the graveside done. But I sense it was more than that for them. I wonder what they anticipated the coming days held for them. I mean, Peter even denied Jesus in a feeble attempt to protect his own life. No, as they hid away from the authorities and the world around them, they were gripped with dread as well as sorrow.

Which, to me, makes Easter even more meaningful for them! The “flavor” of their experience was turned from bitter to elation with the reappearance of Christ.  I was once hopeless, though. I was once lost and fearful for my future. Having been a follower of Jesus these last 23 years, sometimes I forget exactly what Christ brought to me and brought me out of.

I encourage you to spend some time in somber reflection today, trying to get into the heads of the Disciples as you remember what Christ brought you through when you realized He was alive for the first time. Reflect and remember today. Rejoice tomorrow!
Happy Easter,

A Pivotal Event For All Time

Wolfhart Pannenberg, D.D., asserts that the resurrection of Christ is the most pivotal event in human history. He correctly contends that every event up to AND since the resurrection is only properly interpreted when seen THROUGH the resurrection.

This means 2 things:
1) The Cross, as God’s ultimate and eternal plan, holds much more than egg hunts and candy for all humanity. Let’s face it, for most of the Western world, there is some sort of lip service paid to the meaning of Easter, and a greater expectation of a day off from work, candy, or Easter eggs. However, whatever the expectations, Easter is on the minds of most Western thinkers, even if it’s just in this superficial treatment of the holy day. As a follower of Christ, we have an opportunity to point people to something so much bigger than a day off. The Cross event is the single event upon which all of history hangs. The Cross event holds the key to correctly interpreting and extrapolating every event on the time line of humanity. We ought to be awakening people to the magnitude of this event, and inviting them to something so much deeper and greater than a chocolate bunny.

2) As “Jesus People,” we must be sure that we are Easter People all year long. We have an obligation to interpret the events of our every day lives in light of the resurrection of Christ. Since the Cross Event IS the most important event in history, and since we claim to have been eternally changed by the Cross Event, those who follow Jesus must model its importance in an ongoing fashion, and not just when it’s on the minds of our culture. How do you interpret the loss of a loved one? How do we interpret the great promotion at work? Unless every event of life is scrutinized in light of the Cross, we miss the point.

I hope that this Easter Season, those who claim the name of Christ will also claim the impact of Christ. Our challenge should be to point others to The Cross, while we ourselves hold fast to The Cross.