Joy in the stillness
This Easter season is different for me.
For the first time in decades, I’m approaching Easter without being a member of an organized church. This is not to say I am not part of a church body, or that I don’t have a church family. I am and I do.
It’s just that we’re not the First Church of Anywhere, we don’t have a building, we don’t have 501c3 status. We don’t have a designated pastor, but are instead pastors to one another and missionaries to our families, friends, communities, and workplaces. There are no committees and no teams, because we are the committee and the team. We have vision for our small community and for our community at large. We love Jesus a lot.
But we didn’t have an Ash Wednesday service. We didn’t have a Maundy Thursday service, or a Good Friday service. We won’t be gathering for sunrise service on Easter. We actually won’t be gathering for Easter at all. We’re all free to find an established church body or community service if we’d like to participate in those things. Some of us will, and some of us won’t.
And we’re all happy with that.
This Easter, like last Christmas, will have room for stillness.
I’m really happy with that.
I was raised in church and have attended many different kinds of churches, which means I’ve experienced a lot of different types of holy day traditions. All of them are beautiful and meaningful in their own way. I don’t resent the years of participating because I am richer for them.
But for this year, I am glad that instead of this holy season being marked with religious activity and traditions, it’s marked with breathing room for life, for stillness, for choosing how I will remember and honor what Jesus did for me. For intimacy in the remembering with Him in the atmosphere of my heart and mind.
Today was Good Friday. By human standards it was anything but good 2000 years ago. An innocent man was betrayed to torture and handed over to a brutal slow-death public execution. But Good Friday isn’t about human standards. It’s about a God who loved us so much that He would be pleased to give His only Son to ransom us back from the hand of a cruel enemy. It’s about Jesus, who endured the injustice, the humiliation, the torture and pain, because it was a joy to Him to do this for His Father…a joy to provide rescue and reconciliation for us. And the end result of God’s pleasure and Jesus’s joy is indeed good towards us.
It is an amazing thing to consider. My mind cannot comprehend the transaction that took place that day. Every day I reap the benefits of it, however. He did for me what I am totally incapable of doing for myself.
It is entirely possible that next year I’ll be in a different season of life, and that my observation of this holy day will also be different because it will be influenced by a newer season. I am holding the current season loosely and leaving room for change, shifting, and growth.
I love knowing that no matter where I am, He’ll still be alive, He’ll still be good, and I’ll still be His.