This last weekend was the 7th Sunday of Easter. With this, the Easter season comes to a close. This coming weekend we celebrate the wonder of Pentecost. For most Easter has already faded into the background of life. It isn't an intentional thing that people do. I don't think there are very many Christians who consciously say, "I don't want to celebrate Easter any longer. It happened. It is over. Let's move on." I would imagine that if asked, most people would say that they hadn't even given it much thought at all. When they come to worship and hear the announcement: "The first reading for this, the 7th (or 2nd or 3rd or 5th) Sunday of Easter is..." they probably think to themselves, "Oh yeah, it is still the Easter season." So why do we forget about Easter so easily?
Life. Life gets in the way. Unless you are one of us preacher types (I mean that in the kindest way, speaking of pastors and other church professionals who spend our days leading people in the way of the Lord), you have a life outside of the church building. I imagine that you enjoy worship (I hope you are attending worship where you do enjoy the time you have in worship, whether it is traditional Lutheran, high church Lutheran or contemporary church Lutheran). Worship is that time when you can join with your fellow Christians in praising the Lord with words of songs, hymns and spiritual songs. It is a time when you can be fed from Word and Sacrament. It is a time when the pastor can proclaim the Law and Gospel in a powerful, uplifting sermon. It is a place where you can join your heart with other believers in words of prayer. Worship is that time that takes us away from the pressures of the common life.
But life gets in the way the rest of the time. You have to get up and go to work. The kids need to go to school and because it is the end of the school year, there are field trips, game days, special lunches and a whole host of other events that demand your time and attention. (Believe it or not, that is what happens in a pastor's household too!) Then there is the yard that needs attention - grass to mow, weeds to pull, ground to till, garden to plant, flowers to end and a whole host of other outdoor things that need to be done as spring turns to summer and the days get longer and warmer. Don't forget to wash the windows, clean the house and take care of the general needs of the family that never seem to stop.You know what I am talking about - life.
Life continues on it seems so hard to remember that it was the 7th Sunday of Easter. The celebration continues on, even now, 40+ days after Easter. How can you celebrate when you have all those other things going on?
And I think, that is exactly why our Lord came into this world as a man, taking on that which we face each day. He faced it. He had the pressures of day-to-day living. Moving from place to place, town to town, situation to situation, Jesus understands exactly what you are going through. This one is sick. This one is suffering. Don't forget the leper who is dying and the woman caught in adultery.Plus the pharisees who wanted to trap Him and the chief priests who wanted to stop Him from teaching and preaching. Then there was...the list could go on. Jesus understands the life you live. That, my friend, is why He came. He knows your struggles. He knows your weaknesses. He knows your (gasp) sin.
That is what makes Easter so absolutely wonderful. Even if we get busy with life and forget that we are still in the Easter season, the outcome of all Jesus did still is the same. Your remembering or your forgetting because of life, doesn't change what He did for you. He lived, died, and rose again for you, for your salvation, to give you what you need - forgiveness, life and salvation. Even if you forget because you are busy, that doesn't mean you have lost those gifts He has given you. It just reminds you that is why we go back to worship week after week - because we do have lives that cause us to let this great news slip from the front part of our thoughts. We return to worship to be reminded that our Lord loves us and hasn't forgotten us in the midst of our lives.
Yes, it is still Easter. It will be Easter even when Pentecost arrives. It will still be Easter through the long green season that is coming. It is Easter everyday for Christ is alive. He lives for us. (And to think, I had plans to write a whole different thing. Yep, Easter has a way of changing what our plans might be.)