I observed Lent. All forty days of it.
I know, I feel like I should take a bow right now.
I also showed up on time to my church’s Easter Sunday service, scored a prime seat closer to the front than not, was moved by our phenomenal choir’s performance of Hallelujah, listened intently to the sermon, and sighed contently, “He is risen indeed.”
The celebration and rejoicing that goes on in churches around the world on Easter Sunday is, really, awe-inspiring. Our pastor even (jokingly) compared it to the Superbowl for preachers. But it’s true: Christian leaders everywhere needed to bring their A-Game.
But today, as I come down from my sugar-high (thanks, Nerds Jelly Beans!), I think, now what? And then I realize that for Christians, Resurrection Sunday is only the catalyst, not the climax.
The days leading up to Christ’s crucifixion were electric, charged with urgency. Read the last few parables He told while in the Holy City. Every word spoken was deliberate, desperate. Jesus knew His time was coming to a close. How do you fit the magnitude of Heaven into a trifle of time? Jesus did. And His sense of urgency was palpable.
Then imagine His arrest, His followers scattering in fear, wondering where their deliverance would come from, if their Deliver was slated for execution? Giving up everything, giving three years of their lives, three years spent following this radical, this Man who spoke boldly, who healed purposefully, who seemed to have a direct line to the illusive GOD, only to see Him struck down by mere men, the gravity of His teachings gone with His final breath. What a darkness. What a void.
Two women who loved Him dearly, their steps reluctant as they make the trek to His final resting place. The least they can do, anoint His body for proper burial, maybe whisper a few more goodbyes, their hearts heavy with grief and misunderstanding. He was the Son of God! We’ve seen Him cast out demons with a voice of authority! Now what? Now what?
I can only imagine their surprise, their faith restored, Jesus’ words finally, finally making sense. I can only imagine the knowing that settled in their core as Jesus revealed Himself to them, His Godhood fully restored, the debt eternally paid, the passage to Heaven flung wide open. I can picture Jesus saying with a gotcha! smile on His face, “Weren’t you listening, My beloveds?”
No more now whats.
Now, what came from ultimate darkness ushers us to eternal light. Not just because He taught us how to live, not just because He called us to love, not just because He willingly chose to die, but because He rose.
The now whats become inconsequential.
Now, we walk in light. Now, we have a purpose. Now, we have an identity. Now, we have been reconciled to a God, a desperate God, a present and interested God.
We have hope.