The Easter lilies that adorned the altars and pulpits of our decorated sanctuaries have been removed. The soaring special music is only memory. The people whose presence swelled worship attendance in our churches on Easter may have returned to what they were doing the week before Easter. Yes, some have returned to their routine.
My response to that is: How tragic!
The message of Easter 2012 proclaims to us again that we cannot return to what we once were. Jesus refused then to let His disciples fall back into anonymity, and His message for us now is still the same. There is no going back to normal.
Because of that first Easter, Christians today cannot act as though nothing happened.
Travel back in time with me to the days after that first Easter. Pilate was still the governor of Judea, Caiaphas was still the high priest, and the Scribes and Pharisees still held the
The events of Good Friday and Easter morning seemed only a momentary disruption. For most people, a newfound prophet had come — and gone.
As for the disciples, early reports that Jesus was not in the tomb drove them into further isolation. If they could just hide out for a few days, they thought, everything would go back to what it once was. They would return to fishing, and in time they would be forgotten.
Behind locked doors, the disciples gathered. Imagine their amazed faces as Jesus came to them through those locked doors. And instead of scolding them for hiding, Jesus' very first words were “Peace be with you.” So much for going back to normal.
Returning to 2012, on the surface, not a lot has changed since Easter Sunday. Lives continue in their routine ways, and we let the excitement of the season run its course.
And yet the risen Savior has managed once again to enter into locked homes, barricaded churches and closed hearts of society today. He again has transformed a faithful few. Jesus convinces us that we can make a difference in this world if we allow the Easter spirit to dwell in us.
He comes to each of us now and speaks to us personally. With that hope, can your life ever go back to being the same as it was before you knew Him? I know I can never go back to what once seemed normal, and I pray that you can't either.
Robert Hayes Jr. is bishop of the Oklahoma United Methodist Conference and the Indian Missionary Conference.