How I love the Easter season! These are the high holy days of the Christian faith. Of course, all days with Jesus are high and holy but these even more so. They are worth savoring, preparing for with the uttermost attention and focus. A filled tomb became empty which allowed empty people to be filled. Death could not hold them and now despair can no longer hold us. My understanding, like yours, of Easter has grown so much and yet needs to grow up so much more.
Growing up, Easter baskets were a tradition in my household. We would go to church and then hunt for them. They were always somewhere in the house. There wasn’t a huge emphasis on the Easter Bunny, of what I remember. However, there wasn’t much emphasis on the risen Christ either. I’m sure the risen Christ was important to my parents but it never made an impression on me as a child.
I remember that first Easter after I became a Christian. I was overwhelmed in a surprising way. I was almost shocked like I had just entered a surprise party for me, the lights came on, and people yelled, “Surprise!” … a once empty room was filled to fill my empty expectation with joy. The Savior emptied the tomb so that sin’s power can be emptied of its eternal effect on us.
I had never conceived of something so special that I was a part of, an act so universal yet so personal. Most of the things I had been a part of that were special were intended for someone else and I just happen to be a part of the group, but this was different. Jesus went to the cross for me, laid in the tomb for me, rose from the grave victorious for me. While I was included in the group I was a founding member, just like anyone who is in Christ.
How I love Holy Week. It is the culmination of a hard fought fight in Lent to conform ourselves more completely to the image of Christ, to have the mind of Christ in our thoughts, desires, emotions, urges, and choices. My empty desire I see now filled with Jesus-inspired passion, love-ignited urges to serve, to pray, to love my community into the kingdom of God.
Our God is in the business of filling what is empty, of emptying that which was harmful and damaging and then filling it with that which is life-giving. I pray Grand Avenue becomes the kind of church that does that too! Join the revolution. Fill empty hearts with the love of God!