When you think about Easter, what kind of memories do you have? Do you think about getting to go to church as a family? Do you think about little boys wearing new Easter suits and little girls wearing new Easter dresses? Do you think of the front of the church adorned with Easter lilies? Perhaps you think of your favorite songs: “He Arose,” perhaps, or “Christ the Lord is Risen Today.” Maybe your favorite memories have to do with getting together after church for a huge Easter dinner?
Of course, we won’t have a lot of those things this year. Sure, we’ll have the songs, but we won’t have the choir in the sanctuary singing them. And we might be able to dress our children and grandchildren in beautiful Easter clothes, but we can’t quite go to church while wearing them. And for many, Easter dinners with the extended family are still going to be tricky. So in the face of that, what are we left with?
We are left with one thing only: that Jesus Christ went up on the cross to die for our sins, and that three days later, the tomb was empty. We are left with the knowledge that death, the most inescapable force in human life, is essentially powerless against the almighty power of God. That simply by believing in the power of Christ, we can escape death and enjoy eternal life in heaven.
Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy all the Easter traditions. I love the music, I love the clothes, I love everything about it. I can’t wait for Easter 2022, which will feel like my first “real” Easter here in Warwick. But the story of Easter is so amazing that all of that stuff is ultimately pretty unimportant to me. Just thinking about the monumental nature of the sacrifice of Jesus leaves me in a state of complete amazement. Thinking about the resurrection teaches me about a power that I could never imagine.
Yes, this year will be different. But maybe that is an opportunity for us. Maybe freed from all the traditions, all the “window dressing” of Easter, we can focus on the story, and its profound implications from our life. We can simplify things, and make sure this year is all about the Resurrection. So this year, we may not be together, but I hope on Easter morning I can feel you all saying “Hallelujah! Christ is Risen!”