Since you have been raised with Christ set your minds on things above, not on earthly things, for your life is now hidden with Christ in God.
- Colossians 3:1-3
Some call it, the Easter letdown. Holy Week with its emphasis on the suffering and death of Jesus is over, Easter is gone for another year, and Christmas is a memory. Though Pentecost and a variety of less spectacular events on the church calendar lie ahead, the hype associated with a major religious holiday wont resume until Advent ushers in a new round of celebrations seven months from now.
For Christians wanting to exercise their faith, or those still searching for a belief to hang on to, what now? Where is the stimulus in the spiritual world to keep the Easter excitement alive until wreaths and carols and Christmas pageants replace the Hallelujahs to the risen Christ?
We could blame the letdown on our culture. The church hasnt exactly kept pace with the burgeoning glitz of the marketplace, and we 21st-century people are accustomed to being entertained. If the traffic is too slow we pull out our cell phones or click the search button for something more pleasant on our radios, CD players or tiny TVs. Letdown church members follow similar tactics, leaving one church for something more to their liking, or staying away.
But those who were present on that first, decidedly low-tech Easter felt let down, too, and Jesus knew why. For example, when He multiplied a small boys lunch until there was enough bread and fish to feed 5,000 people He said, You seek me not because you saw the miracles, but because you ate the loaves and had your fill (John 6:26).
Though Jesus used this occasion to remind His followers there is more to life than food that spoils, they didnt grasp what He meant because His symbolism went beyond the realm of their experience. Food when they were hungry, health when they were in pain, and solace when the only view of life they comprehended came crashing down at the crucifixion was far easier to understand than hearing Him say, I am the bread of life; he who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty again (John 6:35).
Going beyond the self-absorbed or the sensational, following Jesus when He isnt filling stomachs or bursting from His own grave would have helped them - and will help us - understand the other I ams which He also claimed to be: the light of the world, the true vine, the good shepherd, and the resurrection and the life - which brings us back to Easter and the question we asked in the beginning: What do we do now?
Barbara, youre not living in the realm of the resurrection. White-haired before I knew him, my wizened mentor lovingly explained why the problem I was going through at the time seemed so hard to bear.
When Jesus rose from the dead He wasnt performing some escape-artists routine, and He didnt just come back to life after a temporary demise. He defeated death, the most terrible problem mankind has ever known. Knowing that, we can go through whatever life on earth requires of us because He has promised US a resurrection, too.
During that long-ago, post-Easter slump, the gentlemans advice was at least a start. Easter is a wonderful reminder of lifes resilience over death, and the ultimate triumph of good over evil. But until that day, we have a lot of reassuring, overcoming, realm-of-the-resurrection living to do.
Whether we're wrapped in Easter excitement or slumped in the unhappening days between Easter and Advent, one more divine I am serves as an antidote to the post-celebration letdown: Surely, I am with you always, Jesus said, even to the end of (your life or) the world (Matthew 28:20).
(Barbara Seaborn is a local free-lance writer. E-mail comments to email@example.com.)
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