You’ve likely already been asked (or asked someone else) this question today: “So, how was your Easter?” Around the water cooler or over coffee, we recount our big day: where we went to church, what was on the menu, was familial catastrophe averted, etc. And by the time Wednesday rolls around, people’s attention will have shifted to the royal nuptials. The common assumption is clear: Easter? That was so last Sunday. Indeed, I just now received an e-mail from a Christian acquaintance wishing me a happy belated Easter.
But what isn’t lost on many of our brothers and sisters in other Christian traditions is this truth: Easter hasn’t ended.
For example, consider the Anglican Book of Common Prayer, which has Scripture readings beginning today designated as “Easter Week,” followed by readings for five Sundays after Easter. (This is in addition to the Lent readings.) Combining the Lent Scripture readings with post-Easter Sunday readings, Easter officially spans 14 Sundays!
Now I’m not arguing for a more liturgical expression of Christianity (nor am I arguing against it!). Rather, I’m acknowledging our modern propensity to compartmentalize and isolate this most glorious season. Visit most stores this week and you’ll see what I mean. Easter displays are already being dismantled to draw our increasingly short attention spans to Mother’s Day. By next Sunday, church displays are already neatly boxed and stored away for Easter 2012.
And so the commerical and Gregorian calendars keep their hurling pace. Combine this reality with our culture’s assault on our senses, and it’s no wonder by mid-week Easter 2011 is already yesterday’s news.
The end result? We forget. We don’t merely forget Easter. More tragically, we forget the implications of Easter’s ongoing realities in our lives. It’s a form of early onset spiritual Alzheimer’s disease.
We Must Remember
So what’s the remedy? How can we we be an Easter people 24/7, 365 days of the year?
There’s no simple answer, but I suggest we start with remembering.
Remember God’s words in Deuteronomy 6:12 (right after he gave the Ten Commandments), “…take care lest you forget the LORD, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.”
Remember Psalm 119:93, “I will never forget your precepts, for by them you have given me life.”
Remember 1 Corinthians 11:23-25, when the Apostle Paul recounts Jesus’ words that as we partake in communion, we do so in remembrance of Christ's death.
In other words, cultivating a presence of Easter’s ongoing realities begins with remembering that we all too often forget the central truth of Christianity summarized in 2 Corinthians 5:21, “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”
In light of what Christ has done for you, remember who you are in Christ. 1 Corinthians 6:11, “But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”
Luther was right. In his commentary on Galatians he famously wrote,
[concerning what] Jesus Christ the Son of God hath done for me: to wit, that He suffered and died to deliver me from sin and death. The gospel willeth me to receive this, and to believe it. And this is the truth of the gospel. It is also the principal article of all Christian doctrine, wherein the knowledge of all godliness consisteth. Most necessary it is, therefore, that we should know this article well, teach it unto others, and beat it into their heads continually [emphasis mine].
Remember God’s words. Remember what God the Father has done for you in Christ the Son. Remember who you are as a completely justified sinner, adopted as a chosen son or daughter of our gracious king.
And when you forget, repent and confess your sin, not in a cowering posture, but humbly and boldly remembering that Christ’s finished atoning and justifying work for his people (a message we joyfully proclaim to the whole world) isn’t something we celebrate exclusively on Easter Sunday.
And in our remembering, may the Lord by his spirit according to his word increasingly transform us into a peculiar rejoicing Easter people 24/7, 365 days a year.