Anyone who has made a significant move—say from Chicago to California or from Texas to Boston—knows that different parts of the United States not only have different climate, culture, and quirks—but also differing states of mind. Trying serving a spicy gumbo to a native of Maine or telling someone from Minnesota that 112 Fahrenheit really isn’t so bad because “it’s a dry heat.” Lock a Michigander and an Ohioan in a room to talk about football and see what happens.
As we enter the Season of Easter* (yes, it’s more than a day!), we welcome God’s agenda to move us from one state of being to another through the vehicle of the resurrection. There’s a literal change in our spiritual geography as we relocate from the Kingdom of Darkness into the Kingdom of Light.
Most kids don’t cheer when parents announce a big move to another state. Young ones instinctively know the disruption that moving entails. Most Christians don’t cheer either when God announces that there is spiritual movement ahead. I have two biblical observations and invitations here to help you embrace the changing of the spiritual seasons:
#1) After Easter, Jesus didn’t choose to publicly celebrate, high-five, or gloat about his amazing victory over death. Rather, Jesus chose to approach his disciples in personal, intimate ways to provide what they needed for the journey ahead. Thomas needed a close, physical encounter. Peter needed a deep, restorative conversation to get him past his betrayal. Mary Magdalene needed to hear that she couldn’t “cling on” to Jesus because the post-resurrection relationship was not going to be like it was before. In this Easter Season, our worship services will highlight the moments in which Jesus goes to intimately visit his disciples in order to give them what they most desperately need. So I ask this: What do you personally, desperately need from the Risen One?
#2) While Easter Sunday celebrates the miracle of the resurrection, Easter Season celebrates God’s lasting victory over the powers of darkness, sin and death. Sunday morning sermons during Easter Season will be based on texts from the Book of Revelation which portray Jesus in full cosmic, mysterious, blazing battle mode. The conclusion is inescapable: Jesus wins!
I wonder: How is Jesus at work (or desiring to work) conquering the powers of darkness in your life RIGHT NOW?
This will not all get sorted in a moment. Resurrections for regular folk like us are usually quite a process. Easter Season has six Sundays to help us lean in to resurrection love and power. My hope is that by keeping time with Jesus, we’ll give Jesus more time to keep hold of us. Peace to you.
-– Pastor Gregg
*We often express our desire as followers to Jesus to live differently than the culture that surrounds us. Indeed, we are called to behave differently. This starts with the practice of keeping time in a countercultural way. It’s not that we’re asked to get rid of our clocks and calendars, but rather that we are invited to pattern our days, weeks, and years according to the alternative rhythms of God’s grace. To this end, we’ve been following the Revised Common Lectionary in worship. Consider the graphic below.