Christ arose… so now what?
The blaring organ processional of “Christ the Lord is Risen Today” has finally stopped ringing in your ears. The last scraps of Easter ham have been tucked away into sandwiches, and the dog finally found that last Easter egg out in the lawn… and did you the courtesy of trampling rotten egg across the carpet.
So… now what?
While exhausted pastors and clergy can finally let out a deep sigh and a “hallelujah!” (haha, liturgical puns), the reality is, the year keeps on ticking. There is another service to plan (give it to the intern), work to be done (the number of complaints you got for that flickering bulb during Easter service… so help me), and thank-you notes to write (Dear _____, thank you for _____. I appreciate ______. In Christ, Pastor ______.)
And for those of you who don’t work in a church setting, the memories of Easter can fade even faster. After all, there are school lunches to pack, baseball practices to schedule, and don’t forget the car needs an oil change. We need to get back to our lives.
So Christ arose… now what?
I can imagine that this might’ve been how the disciples felt. In John’s gospel account in chapter 20, we read of Jesus’ appearance to Mary Magdelene (vs. 11-18), the disciples (vs. 19-23), the disciples again (this time with Thomas) (vs. 24-29)… and yet, by the time we get to chapter 21, we see Peter out fishing again.
Peter, who had been one of the first to see the empty tomb, had seen the resurrected Lord twice, now goes out after all that and returns to fishing. He goes back to his day job (well, actually night job because they tended to fish at night, but you get the idea…).
For Peter (and Thomas, and Nathanel, and James and John, and two others), life had to go on. Sure, their Jesus was alive, but frankly, he wasn’t going to pay the bills or feed their hungry bellies. They had to go back to work. This whole three-year discipleship thing seemed to have come to an end. It was a nice phase of life, but reality called.
Isn’t that the way it is with us? The whole joy and amazement as we celebrate the risen Lord is nice and all… but that certainly isn’t going to help the kids get their homework done, or get those lunches packed (unless… you have that leftover Easter ham…). It’s a nice celebration and all, but reality calls.
I mean really, Christ arose… so now what?
I take great comfort in knowing that even in the midst of my harried, busy, “religious” life I lead as a seminarian, I’m given permission to forget, to become busy, and to lose track of my Savior.
What do I mean by this? Only that when the disciples failed to recognize their Savior, when they didn’t get it, when they ran away, when the significance of the resurrection was lost on them… Christ did not condemn them.
Even when we get too busy…
Even when we forget…
Even when we miss the significance…
Jesus cooked them breakfast. They shared a meal and fellowship together. And the one who had rejected him? He was restored.
In this Eastertide season, take comfort that even in the midst of the chaos of our lives, we have a Savior who stands patiently on the beach, welcoming us to come back to shore. To come back to fellowship.
To come back to our Savior.