Easter. When you see or hear Easter you think of ______? It might be Resurrection Sunday, but it is probably more along the lines of “easter” eggs or bunny, or maybe those horrible marshmallow “peeps”. Or maybe, a new dress or coloring eggs the night before.
To me, I know it is time for my lemon pie. That is pretty much my main objective. My wife’s lemon pie and I go way back.
It is a perfect spring day at a church bake sale fundraiser and up next is a fresh bright lemon pie. At this point, I didn’t even know if I liked lemon pie but there is a sassy blonde up there displaying her grandma’s recipe that she achieved. So I open up with a big bid to get her attention, and someone outbids. I counter trying to impress her with my determination but apparently this guy must really like lemon pie. The war is on. We are throwing bids like haymakers, me in the back of the crowd bidding for her pie and affection and my adversary sitting down in the front row locked in.
After a 12 round heavyweight fight, who do you think came out victorious? Well, we probably both did. Oh, I won the war; I got the pie and the girl. But this guy in the front row was my future father-in-law exposing my weakness for lemon pie and his daughter as well as my intentions with her to the world. Everyone knows no lemon pie is worth $150 unless there is more than lemon meringue in the air. Yep, he won the day. But he was merciful at letting me off at $150 because I would have gone higher.
Back to Easter. How do you enjoy or celebrate Easter? How should you enjoy or celebrate Easter?
I see a few options and will keep this short.
1) Don’t celebrate Easter at all because:
A) You don’t believe that Jesus resurrected
B) You believe that Jesus defeated death but you choose not to celebrate and are not commanded to.
2) Celebrate Easter, but do so without any cultural practices like the easter bunny and eggs sort of thing.
3) Celebrate Easter as a follower of Christ, and according to passages like 1 Corinthians 8, your conscience is not bothered by the cultural aspects of Easter so you can participate in an egg hunt and have fun.
This is what we choose to do. I know what I am teaching my kids and am not bothered by them picking up eggs out of the grass. To me, that is all they are doing. Eating candy and picking up eggs out of the yard. There is nothing more to it than that.
But what is mandatory on Easter?
Nothing is mandatory because of Easter. However because Easter is on a Sunday, lets rephrase the question. What generally happens on Sundays, regardless of Easter or not?
On Sundays the church gathers together. Emphasis on when the church gathers. When the church gathers, the gospel is proclaimed and celebrated. Easter or not. Jesus defeated death, rose from the grave, walked out of a tomb after 3 days; Jesus died and didn’t stay dead. For me, for you, for us. So when the church gathers, we celebrate this.
I don’t just need this on Sundays; I need to hear this every day.
I sincerely hope that we are hearing more about the gospel than what we should or should not do on Easter. The gospel isn’t an Easter message, it is an everyday message. If your Easter sermon sounds radically different than most Sundays, it might be time to look for a new church.
One evening when my kids and I were reading through this passage of Jesus’ crucifixion, my little girl said something like, “Jesus died, that is really sad.” And I explained, “Of course, in a way your right that is really sad. But it is also the greatest thing ever because he died the death we should have died and he rose again that we may live.”
- Resolved, not only to refrain from an air of dislike, fretfulness, and anger in conversation, but to exhibit an air of love, cheerfulness and benignity.
Children. Or being a kid. Children are a gift. Remember when your biggest concern was not being bored. Don’t directly take this with responsibilities of parenting, but just take a look at the miracle that kids are. What they are capable of. I am also not saying they are innocent but most kids tend to be a little more gracious than adults. They want to play with you and they want you to like them.
John 1:12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
Childlike faith is dependent on knowing you can’t help yourself and that your identity is linked to another. In there is true freedom and great joy.
Treehouse Learning Center (Daycare and Pre-school) located at Grace Church of Mineral Wells. This is a no-brainer because of the wonderful staff. I also get to see the training, hard work, and integrity that surpasses just being responsible with children, which is a great task in itself. They are selfless and trustworthy. As a bonus, the facility is multifunctional as Grace Church’s kids building and fellowship hall and some of the profit from the Treehouse Learning Center is redirected to church ministries and missions. Like Cocoon Pregnancy Resource Center and Church plants and pastors in Yucatán, Mexico.
Be a neighbor. Get past social awkwardness. Do more than wave. If you need a starting point, buy a dessert and take it to them, introduce or re-introduce yourself. Imagine life around your house if there was a connection with other people with real relationships.