Hi everyone, Rob here.
Easter Sunday in our church is an unusual day. We all know that it’s the high point in the Christian calendar: Christ overcomes death, the devil and the world, revealing who he is, vindicating all that he’s done and inviting us into new life with him. Fantastic! There’s just one problem. Half the church aren’t there. They’re taking a break from work, school, routine and enjoying the last of the warmish weather before winter hits. As a pastor it’s frustrating because you want a great service, full of bells and whistles, but the music team’s at the beach and it feels like we don’t do the resurrection justice. And yet…
And yet taking a break so that you can come back refreshed and rejuvenated is so consistent with the meaning of resurrection that this year I’m joining them. It’s been a long term. My body is literally telling me it’s time for some rest. But to gain true refreshment is to be spiritually intentional about how I use the time. Taking a break, in and of itself, does not refresh us. In fact, without intentionality, we can come back more tired. The change of routine, kids being around all the time, new beds if you go away, can all mess with us. The point of a break is to accept Christ’s invitation to get away with him (Matthew 11:28).
For our family that means literally getting away. Our commitments at church and school mean that it’s to easy for us to be pulled back in. As much as I love our congregation, seeing them around the neighbourhood everywhere I go does not help me rest. For us it also means beauty. It means the beach and beautiful vistas. It reminds me of God’s character and unconditional love. It helps me to feel secure in his love and hopeful for all that is to come. It also means permission to take time out. “I need God-time” is a phrase we like to practice using (and we always need more practice). It means the other has permission to take the time they need to connect with our God. Increasingly simple family time is also a reminder to us of the love that abounds in God’s kingdom. Our children are still young and enjoying them is high on our priority list. Enjoying each other feels like a gift too.
Love, security, hope, time and rest. These are all resurrection gifts. They are pointers to the kingdom come and reminders of the kingdom now. They are gifts for those with families and those without; for the wholehearted and the brokenhearted; for those in church and those on the beach. Christ’s victory at Easter wasn’t just for eternal security but for life in all its fullness today. He wants us to know that we can die to the things in our lives that aren’t his and come alive to the things that are. We can lay down our lives at his cross and receive the new life that starts with an empty tomb.
Easter is a journey from defeat to victory, despair to hope, death to life. Don’t just let this Easter be about events on Friday and Sunday, but let Christ himself take you on a journey of restoration and renewal. It’s the journey that he took and we can take ours with him. This Easter may your church services be life-giving and your “God-time_ be rich.
Grace and peace everyone.