For most of the past week or so, I’ve been in the process of unpacking—both at my office in the church and in the home that I’ll be occupying here in Mount Airy. As you probably know, unpacking can be a challenging task, and it’s one that I haven’t quite finished. Of course, the thing that makes the chore so difficult is that life keeps happening, even while I’m trying to get ready to live it. It would be so much easier if things could stop for a while so that I could put stuff away, figure out what’s going on, and get my head screwed on straight. But instead, there are new friends to visit and committees to meet with and worship services to plan…not that I’m complaining! This is the kind of thing I love to do, and I’m so glad to be doing it here at Calvary Baptist. But still (as the saying goes), it’s hard to change a tire while the car is moving.
It occurs to me that “unpacking Easter” can be much the same kind of experience. It would be so much easier of things could stop for a while. That way, we could think deeply about what God was doing when He raised Jesus from the dead. We could study-up on what it means to live with resurrection hope. We could decide exactly how we as individuals and as a church were going to tell our community and our world the incredible good news: “He is risen! He is risen, indeed!”
But instead, life keeps happening. We care for our families. We go to work. We move along a never-ending road of tasks and chores and responsibilities. And along the way we get joyful and frustrated and sometimes scared. And we find ourselves wishing that we had some peace and quiet and time to seek God and figure out what He’s doing in and with our lives. But the car keeps moving…and those tires won’t change themselves.
Perhaps we shouldn’t feel too badly about our predicament. If I recall correctly, Mary Magdalene didn’t even have time to catch her breath after having an awe-filled encounter with the resurrected Jesus before he was sending her off on a mission: “Go to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” (See John 20:11-18) The car does keep moving…and the tires may or may not be ready. But the most important thing about the journey is that Jesus goes before us. And that’s what makes the journey worth taking.
So my prayer for you (and for me) in the weeks ahead is that God will let us “unpack Easter.” I pray that we’ll find the time to reflect on the tomb-defeating joy that rests at the heart of our faith…and
that we’ll find the opportunity to share that joy with others. But even if all that gets interrupted because “life keeps happening,” I hope that we’ll all discover: Life is the point! And because of Easter, we know that Jesus is present with us, enabling us to live it abundantly.