Easter and Christmas are the two high points of the Christian year, and they certainly deserve all the pageantry that celebrates their passing. When our Easter best are hung up in the closet and Easter dinner has filled our bellies, we might wonder what is next. Do we wait until Christmas or next Easter for worship to be filled with such a smorgasbord for our senses?
The sales display in stores bounds from one holiday to the next. Once one holiday has been celebrated, it is soon forgotten, and we move on to the next. Do we settle for worship as normal or wait for Mother’s Day or whatever is the next event on the calendar? No, Easter shapes us all year long. Each week we come and worship on Sunday morning, we are celebrating a mini-Easter. Most Christian churches moved their day of worship to Sunday to reflect the centrality of Easter.
Beyond that, I would claim that the way we live our whole lives is seen through the lens of the Christ event — Jesus’ death on the cross and rising from the grave. We are Easter people. We live our lives through the lens of Easter.
We know that death no longer has the final word; the grave has lost its sting. We can face those challenging moments at the hospital bedside or the funeral home office with a new resolve and sense of assurance. We still grieve the loss of our health and loved ones, but we know in our hearts we will see one another again. If gaining as much as you can in this lifetime is not our goal, we are opened up to the joys of generosity. If fame is not our goal, we find lasting fulfillment in fellowship with others who choose to be disciples of Jesus. If we follow Jesus, we offer compassion and mercy to those in need among us. Being Easter people frees us from fear and opens the door to love.
Easter people open the door to everyone, because Jesus died for us all. Now that we have celebrated Easter, we go about living as Easter people.
• The Rev. Kevin Campbell is pastor of Federated Methodist-Presbyterian Church. Sermon Notes is a column by local religious leaders.