How was your Easter? In what ways was Easter this year different than Easter last year? For me, Easter this year was heaps better than Easter 2020 because of the whole lockdown and COVID thing. Last year, Easter didn’t feel very “Easter-ish,” so I think I was all the more grateful and excited for last Sunday!
Of course, we celebrated Easter in 2020, not only as a day on the calendar, but we tried to remember that it was Resurrection Sunday. We did an online Easter service at our church, in a mostly empty room with some gracious camera operators and wonderful volunteers. I remember trying to coach my mental game for Easter 2020 using my self-made mantra, “Empty tomb more than empty room!”
In contrast, this year, it was really wonderful to have live church services with vibrant worship, a responsive in-person congregation, lots of smiles, and friendly welcomes, of course being mindful of masks and social distancing. This year felt a whole lot more like a Resurrection Sunday in contrast to last year.
This reminded me of a resurrection experience that’s documented in Luke 24:5. Leading up to this verse, we read about some of the women followers of Jesus who came to His tomb, bringing spices to put on Jesus’ dead body. When they arrived at Jesus’ tomb, they found the stone door had been rolled away, His body wasn’t in the tomb, and they were concerned and baffled. In Luke 24:5, two angels asked these women a really poignant question, “Why are you seeking the living One among the dead?”
I love this question, and I’m reminded of these words at various times over the course of any given year and not just Easter. I think about this verse a lot because I can sometimes find myself wanting something but then being disappointed when the shiny wears off. When new gets normal when I experience someone’s humanity, when I get disappointed, or my hopes get dashed. In these times, if I pause to think, I will often sense Holy Spirit asking me about my expectations. “Sarah, were you hoping this situation/relationship/experience was a little bit of heaven, and you’re disappointed to learn that it was more earthly and mundane than you hoped for?”
If I look for anything or anyone but God to address and resolve my core desires, I set myself to be disappointed, hurt, disillusioned, etc. I do what these women did in Luke 24:5, on Easter when they were looking for the living Jesus among the dead graveyard.
Sometimes, I’m like these women, and I look for the living among the dead. I do this when I hope that an experience will be heavenly, but it turns out to be just another human gig. This also happens to me when I think a person is super wonderful, amazing, fantastic, and maybe beyond human, then I see their human side, and it’s less than appealing. Or I have a similar disappointment when something I’ve achieved doesn’t sustain me in a state of permanent significance and fulfillment. I share these examples because maybe you have been looking for life, resurrection, genuine love, and supernatural involvement in your life. Perhaps you’ve been looking for these things in human forms or experiences, and you find yourself in a vicious cycle of hoping, looking, disappointment and disillusionment.
So I think it’s worthwhile to ask ourselves the question, “Am I looking for the living (Jesus) among the dead?”
If this is possible in your life, let’s recalibrate our focus to keep our eyes on Jesus, full stop. When I try to find Jesus in His full-blown reality here among earthly things, relationships, experiences, achievements, and whatnot, I set myself up to chase the wind and be disappointed. Let’s remember that Jesus is eternal life and genuine love more than anything or anyone we might encounter in our human existence. Let’s keep looking to Jesus!