That Sunday After Easter

Few of us remember those Sundays that come the week after Easter. By then the pastel finery is packed away in our closets. The lunch is not as great. The anticipation for corporate worship has dropped down from the seasonal high we felt just a week before. There is less excitement, less panache, less décor — and more resemblance to that original Easter so many Sundays ago.

It’s easy to forget that the Easter morning of A.D. 33 didn’t come with big hats and bowties. Those disciples huddled together in fear, not faith. They tended their wounds, not flaunted their tidiness. And then — then — they worshiped Jesus.

They worshiped Jesus not because of what they had to offer, but because he bombarded their worlds with hope. He exploded the walls of their wretchedness with the irrefutable fact that the grave had not won, that death had been defeated, that the guilt and power of sin had been slain. They were astonished, at best; despairing, at worst; helpless, in the least — and Jesus walked in with his life-changing peace.

Jesus stepped into their space in the same way he steps into ours by his Spirit — as the resurrected Christ, the reigning King, the Lord of all. He comes as the one who is not served by human hands as though he needed anything, but who gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. He comes as the one whose glory is not contrived by our praise, but whose glory compels our praise — even today, even on this “normal” Sunday.

Or, perhaps, he compels our praise especially on this normal Sunday because we’re reminded that worship is not about us bringing our best, but about finding him as better. We come to him who first came to us. And we come not to give, but to receive. We come as those who need to hear his voice, feel his nearness, know his love.

We come to get God, to say together, humbly and gladly in the Spirit’s power, with the heart of Psalm 116:12–13,

What shall we render the Lord Jesus for all his resurrection benefits?
We will lift up the cup of salvation and call upon his name.