Today is the day that mothers pick up candy wrappers, loose Easter basket grass, and the little, now empty, plastic eggs. In some households, the dinner menu may also include stuffed eggs left over from the holiday. In a day or two, all the remnants of Easter will be tucked away in storage waiting for next year.
Regretfully, while churches put away choir and cantata music, take out the Easter lilies, and file away yesterday’s bulletin, they also will be putting away Easter. Next Sunday pews that were full this past Sunday will be less full. Those who came to salve their conscience will come again only for another special occasion—perhaps a wedding in June, or a funeral of a loved one.
Some church members will attend week after week without much change. Hearts are stirred but not changed. After the resurrection many of the disciples returned to their old jobs and family life. The excitement stirred them; their lives were not changed. The church calendar moves forward with Ascension Sunday, and Pentecost so there are reminders of moving forward. It seems as if the clergy and church boards have to continually find ways to lure people to come to church.
What’s the problem? In my opinion, the problem is not in the pew. The problem is not in the pastors. The problem lies in every heart. When Jesus pronounced the beatitude: “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled,” He put his thumb on the pulse of the problem. It is a choice. It is a personal choice, to be exact. Choose to follow the words and ways of Jesus or choose to modify those words and actions according to whim. Living for Jesus is a mere song title and sitting in church presents a façade.
If we never really “get over” Easter, our heart cry will echo that of the Apostle Paul who declared of himself “that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable unto His death.” Think of how enriched our spiritual walk can become if that verse were carried out in our hearts. We would never put away Easter.