Growing up, I remember always looking forward to Easter because as a little girl I loved getting SO dressed up in a fancy new dress, and always anticipating the goodies that would fill our Easter baskets from the “Easter Bunny.” Don’t forget the Easter egg hunts, which would always result in staining that brand new dress in hopes of finding the special golden egg; the one that had MONEY in it! And let’s not forget, the mandatory family Easter picture, or maybe even a visit to the (all too creepy) Easter bunny at the mall!
As a little girl, as much as I loved the days leading up to Easter with anticipation and excitement, I didn’t understand the suffering or the magnitude that the week of Easter carried for Christ and the glorious victory that came on the third day when He rose for all mankind! But I’d be lying if I said I haven’t had thoughts over this past month about what we will have to give up this year on Easter.
Giving up worshiping in person at our church.
Giving up seeing family and celebrating, catching up, and talking about things to come.
Giving up the social egg hunts at local churches, parks, and businesses…
or supporting local business by filling Easter baskets with handmade items, or from local toy stores.
But what did GOD give up on the days leading up to Resurrection Sunday?
Wasn’t sacrifice, and the promise of restoration what was on God’s mind when He gave up His only Son to bring us something so much better?
Isn’t the sacrifice leading up to the Resurrection what Easter is all about?
There would be no Easter, or Ressurection Sunday, without Christ first laying himself down for us on the cross!
And here comes the troubling part, I’ve heard talk of people, signs, media saying “Easer’s Canceled”.
How can the hope of all mankind be “canceled” from a temporary virus that has the world, as we have formally known it, shut down?
Hope isn’t canceled
Easter isn’t canceled.
Jesus still rose and is ALIVE to bring healing, restoration, hope, and guidance to a world that desperately needs Him. Maybe this year more than ever.
I think in the simplest form, Easter will just look different for all of us this year.
And, if I’m being honest, I think it’s something we all need.
I know I’m not the only person struggling to accept a very different Easter this year. How will we celebrate Easter in the midst of the pandemic?
What will Easter be like without gathered congregations?
Without the largest day for people to express their public declaration of accepting Christ into their hearts through their local church?
This year, believers around the world will experience an Easter Sunday like never before.
They will experience Our Savior, Jesus, in His simplest form.
No flashy lights, no children’s productions, no fancy Easter outfits, or Easter bunny photos…
Just the pursuit of hope in something so much more than what we are experiencing here on this earth. And only in clinging to that, am I reminded of these truths:
The first Easter was not celebrated in a large congregation with flashy lights, children’s productions, the perfect outfit, or the perfect Ressurection song practiced and rehearsed playing from the talented musicians on stage.
The resurrection of Jesus was first announced to a small group of women, huddled around a tomb, consumed by fear and overcome with guilt and unbelief at what was going on in their natural state around them.
Or in other words, what they saw with their eyes.
But Jesus saw something different, a higher perspective, just as He sees now.
He sees the freedom of being welcomed into homes across the nation.
He sees the opening of schedules that for many years have been an excuse not to go to a “church”.
He sees the gathering of immediate families coming together, as all that divides them from Him has been stripped away.
He sees, just as He did with the women and disciples from His first step out of the tomb, His children consumed with fear, and guilt that they aren’t doing enough, or being enough, and unbelief in Him.
The first Easter worship celebration was held in a home, among a small group of disciples.
In today’s case, it’s the disciples you are rasing up in your own home.
Through the written Word, and the story of the early church, we clearly see that the resurrection does not require large assemblies for validation. The power of Christ defeating death travels beyond what our mind can comprehend, or our circumstances will allow.
That the power of Jesus Christ is alive, living in us, and that He is everywhere, among all people, in their homes, hospitals, or workplaces.
So, this year, rather than letting the day come and go in a flash, getting out the door to the church, rushing to extended families, maybe multiple egg hunts in one day, all just to get home, everyone exhausted and most likely fighting over who got the most easter eggs, and wishing for bedtime to come so you and your spouse can take a breath…Instead of all that, pursue the treasure you have this year of creating new traditions, and focusing on our Savior in the simplest form.
Because Christ is alive and has gone ahead of us. The church was never meant to be limited to a building, but to be carried out in homes, hospitals, and through relationships, in the smallest of settings. That is how it was the first Resurrection Sunday, and how it needs to be in this moment.
In the midst of being with those in your immediate family at home this Easter, we’ve put together 2 free digital downloads. One to do as a family, to bless others in your neighborhood, or family members you can’t physically see this Easter, and one for your children to follow and color as they read scriptures that guide them in walking in God’s resurrection power daily.
We hope you enjoy them and would love to see how you are using them in your home! Tag us @thepausepursuit on social media, comment below, or email us at email@example.com. We pray this blesses your home and those around you in this time of social distancing!