As I write, pastors and church staffs are scrambling toward Easter. They’re fine-tuning Holy Week services, printing bulletins, rehearsing music, doing that “something extra” to welcome guests on Easter Sunday. The afternoon will find these once-frantic folks relaxing with family, headed for well-deserved time off, or simply hibernating at home as they recover from the annual Easter marathon. Meanwhile excited sugar-crazed children in homes across the land will have devastated and deconstructed beautiful Easter baskets. Then school will resume on Monday morning. Store displays of egg-laying bunnies will yield to Mother’s Day marketing. A relieved sigh will be heard throughout the land: “Well, that’s over. We’re done with Easter till next year.”
But the Good News of Easter is—it’s not over! Talented worship leaders Richard Avery and Donald Marsh taught us that truth through their song, “Every morning is Easter morning from now on…” Have some fun watching and singing along with this video. The celebration continues in the lives we live on the far side of Easter. Good News overflows beyond the sanctuary to touch and transform every person and every part of creation. “…if anyone is in Christ,” Paul writes, “that person is part of the new creation. The old things have gone away, and look, new things have arrived!” (2 Corinthians 5:17 CEB) Easter means NEW CREATION is happening right here, right now, in you, in me, and in places, ways, and people we’ve never even imagined! Jesus’ Risen Life is re-creating every person, every creature, every molecule, every institution, every relationship.
Really, Paul? Have you watched CNN or Fox News lately? Surfed the Internet? Talked with the folks in the grocery store, the beauty shop, the neighborhood bar, the church parking lot? “New Creation” sounds pretty impossible to them. I suspect it sounded equally impossible to Paul’s friends in Corinth. They felt Death’s unbreakable stranglehold literally squeezing the life out of their world. But Paul insisted that the Life that had raised Jesus had broken Death’s stranglehold finally and forever. Paul strains the limits of language to describe Life’s ultimate victory: “Death swallowed by triumphant Life! Who got the last word, oh, Death? Oh, Death, who’s afraid of you now? It was sin that made death so frightening and law-code guilt that gave sin its leverage, its destructive power. But now in a single victorious stroke of Life, all three—sin, guilt, death—are gone, the gift of our Master, Jesus Christ. Thank God!” (1 Corinthians 15:55-57 MSG)
That’s the Good News of Easter. It’s fresh and new every morning. God is recreating God’s world. God is re-creating people like you and me, and people very different from you and me. God’s Life-giving, death-destroying Love is transforming all that we knew was dead and broken; resurrecting all we grieve as lifeless and hopeless. Love pours life and health back into what we knew was lost forever. All the big and small things we do in the Spirit of Jesus (especially those small things we think go unnoticed) help to build God’s New World. No-one and nothing can stop Love’s power from completing God’s New Creation: “With all this going for us, my dear, dear friends, stand your ground. And don’t hold back. Throw yourselves into the work of the Master, confident that nothing you do for him is a waste of time or effort.” (1 Corinthians 15:58 MSG)
Where and with whom are you equipped and called to share this Good News–with struggling families, friends, coworkers? Students and staff in underfunded and overcrowded schools; with the homeless people you passed as you drove around today; men, women, children in the grip of addiction; folks in a nearby jail or other correctional facility? With disaster survivors seeking to rebuild their lives, and those who work alongside them; angry, frightened persons who demonize their neighbors across political, spiritual, lifestyle, and ideological divides? With our United Methodist Church as it seeks a new beginning; our planet suffering from centuries of abuse and misuse by its human occupants?
The list could go on and on. Thank God that “…every morning is Easter morning from now on!” Thank God “the work of the Master” continues to build New Creation. None of us has to do it all. None of us has to heal all the world’s brokenness. (None of us–especially me!– is God, thank God!) Each of us is uniquely positioned, equipped, and called to share the joy of Easter morning (every morning!) with some neighbors within our reach. Can you see their faces yet? Hear their voices? Pray. Ask God. You’ll start to see faces and places, and hear voices. You’ll start to see a way where you knew there was no way. You’ll start to discover others who share your call and bring gifts and skills you may lack. Take a step, and you’ll find the next step.
When the going gets tough–and it will–remember Paul’s words: “…don’t hold back. Throw yourselves into the work of the Master, confident that nothing you do for him is a waste of time or effort.”