Sunday Reflections – Easter Reflections

Easter Sunday holds a prominent place in my church-going memories. The smell of Lilies. New clothes. The Easter bonnet my mom wanted me to wear and that I hated. Easter breakfast after a sunrise service, then a second church service. Good memories.

As an adult, Easter memories still sit strongly in my mind. Same smell of Lilies. Spring colors. Easter hymns like “Crown Him with Many Crowns” that I’ve never not known. Small, colored cylinders with treasures inside (aka Easter Eggs, but that term bothers some people). Easter dinner followed by a rather competitive egg hunt at the in-laws.

Outside of the usual Easter routine are several Easters spent away from home, including one on a mountaintop at sunrise in Vermont. Would have been better had there not been blinding fog, but majestic nonetheless.

Easter 2012 combined the usual routine with an away-from-home experience. The first half of the day found me riding in a car traveling home to Michigan from Missouri. No Lilies. No Sunday best attire. Worship via the radio (one of the songs was “Crown Him with Many Crowns), and McDonalds for Easter dinner. We did make the annual hunt at the in-laws though. Even with a seemingly un-Easter start, this Easter held a deeper meaning than ever before in my life.

Somewhere along the line, Easter evolved from a once-a-year Sunday celebration to a year-round sense of purpose. The reason for Easter – celebrating the risen Christ – exists now as a way of life, a state of mind if you will – rather than a capstone day in the church year.

How did my view of Easter change? The ultimate purpose stayed the same, yet my view of that purpose has evolved away from the days of sunrise services and Easter bonnets. (Actually, only the one bonnet. I refused to wear them after the first experience.) In those days, this far-away God had sent his Son to die for my sins. Believing that got me to Heaven; this was the limit of my faith and the existence of God in my life. Today, the Easter story presents more than just a ticket to eternity in Heaven. Today, Easter now represents a relationship with Jesus.

When did my view of Easter change? Over the years, experiencing struggles and letting Christ lead me to victory in and through them matured my faith. Faith is a simple but crucial act of the spirit, and the maturing of faith through the Holy Spirit’s leading and guiding built the relationship that now permeates my existence.

My view changed also because worship changed over the years too from organ-led traditional hymn singing to contemporary worship with hands raised. (Note that I do not believe one is better than the other.) Some songs stayed the same, yet my participation exists very differently. My involvement in the process seems to have impacted my view of the Easter message too.

Parenting also changed my view of Easter. Not only do I want my boys to have an intimate relationship with Christ, my understanding of God’s love for His Son has also grown for me since I became a parent. Would I sacrifice one of my sons to save another person’s life? No, I wouldn’t. Yet, that is what God did, and being a parent gives some inclination of how much He must have loved me to give up His only Son. Something I would never do.

In Holy Week Thoughts and Observations, T. Neal Tarver asks the question, Where has God captured your attention during this past Holy week?” I answered that “God has captured my attention with a look back this week. I have been thinking about different ways I have spent Easter…” And in that thinking, I realized that my faith has progressed and grown in a way that affected not only how I spend Easter but how the reason behind Easter exists in my life.

My spiritual growth is illustrated in the many ways I have experienced Easter throughout my life. And while my preference by far is to spend the morning at my home church and the afternoon with my family, I am able to truly celebrate Easter wherever my body may physically be because my spirit is always connected to Him.

Why did this happen? Somewhere along the line I discovered that not only did Jesus die on the cross for my sins, but He also wanted to be my friend. Not only was He God’s son, but He was my brother. In other words, Jesus became a real person in my life. He became my best friend, a deep longing that I remember having even as a young child. A longing that was not met until after I had my own kids and started experiencing Easter more than just one Sunday a year.

DISCUSSION: Think back over past Easters in your life. How have they changed & evolved? What evidence do you see of growth in your walk with Christ?

8 thoughts on “Sunday Reflections – Easter Reflections

  1. I think the challenge I've seen as I've gotten older is not being cynical. I've seen the big Easter crowds, I know most people go to church on Easter Sunday. It's difficult for me to celebrate knowing that many of those attending don't care, or are just there for appearances. This year I had to get my heart right before going to church, since I wanted to celebrate, I wanted to enjoy the day. I wanted to enjoy my relationship with Christ and the fact that He rose. With his help I was able to. I loved the service, I loved the people, I loved the celebration.

    • Boy do I get that battle. So many people in my Christian family throughout the years have turned out to be hypocrites, and I have had a tough time getting over the hurts. Getting your heart right is so important before going to worship because it allows you to focus on serving and worshiping Him rather than on your own hurts and needs. He is so faithful to help us when we submit to Him. Thank you for sharing this testimony. It definitely blessed me!

  2. Pingback: Are You A Part of This Story? | A Curious Band of Others

  3. I love your comments about Jesus being your friend now. I think we toss out that language a lot, but really feeling that is totally different. My wife was raised in a different denomination, a "stuffier" one if you will, and she never heard the concept of Jesus being a friend. It was eye-opening to her when she realized that.

  4. I linked to you through Tom Tarver, who I call my Texan brother. we were both pastors in Richland Center for several years. We have memorable Maundy Thursday story we share with a laugh….cell phone at communion table…mine…

    I too have seen my worship and the meaning of Easter change. This year I was on the road in a semi, using praise and worship music, scripture, a story of my days as pastor when I did a dialoge as Mary Magdeline, and prayer, as I enjoyed the beauty of God’s creation as my worship.

    Yes, I have learned that anywhere my body is, there I can worship God, give praise to Christ, intercede for others, pray with thanksgiving, and know God’s peace beyond my imagination.

    God knew the desires of my heart and has granted them over and over in many different settings. I appreciate your sharing your journey. Thanks!

    • Having God come alive in the beauty of nature has been one of the significant reasons my faith has grown over the years, and it is also the reason I enjoy visiting new places. Makes me not mind being away from home on Easter quite as much. Though I will say that I am feeling "off" after missing two Sundays in a row, though that doesn't have anything to do with Easter. Thank you for visiting my blog. I appreciate your insight and perspective, especially from the point of view of a pastor.

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