When Easter Becomes an Afterthought

Has Easter crept up on you this year? Maybe it’s the fact that after several years of having Easter in April, it’s surprising us in March this year. It could be that, at least here in Canada, it’s still feeling pretty wintery for spring. The Easter bunny is still hibernating here.

Whatever the reason, Easter is almost upon us and I’m just now beginning to think about it. If I’m not careful, I’ll get wrapped up in the events of the week and Good Friday will be here and my heart won’t be ready. The holiday weekend will pass by and Easter will be only an afterthought. A blip on the calendar. This is not how I want it to go but quite often, it is.

I’ll try to squeeze some Easter things into an already crowded calendar. More of a check list that “I Did Easter 2018.” Maybe along with some photos to post. It still leaves me feeling empty.

Every year I’m left feeling this way and it’s occurred to me more than once that I don’t think that’s how it should be.

Are we just too busy? I think that’s part of it. Do we take the time to contemplate the week leading up to the cross? No I don’t. I’m left trying to get through the week, only to find myself sitting in church on Good Friday, trying to get my mind to stop.

I could say I am too busy but is that the truth?  I heard author and pastor, Carey Nieuwhof say something to the effect, that we say we are too busy but what we are really saying is we didn’t make the time.   I didn’t make the time to step back 2000 years ago and walk that journey of the disciples, the many Marys, including Jesus’ mother and witness the horrific crucifixion.

I didn’t make the time for Jesus, prioritizing so many other things ahead of Him. The consequences of that choice is I’m left with Easter as an afterthought.

Obviously I need to change my priorities. How about you?

 

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I need to make time for Jesus first, not cleaning the house, writing or baking. I need to be more a Mary this week than a Martha. I need to chose the good thing, the better thing. I need to sit at His feet. Travel back 2000 years and read the scriptures with new eyes. Instead of whispering to myself that I know all that already. Maybe starting today, I need to pray and ask the Holy Spirit to do a new work in my heart. To show me new truths and insights into the Easter story. To remember it’s not just a story but a grace fulfilled, a love that stood in for all of us. A priceless gift that none of us ever deserved it but we are loved. That.Much.

What about you?

Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me. Rev 3:20 NIV

Maybe this Easter, He’s standing at the door knocking. He already has our hearts, but now He’s asking for our time. Our attention. For every part of our being.

It’s not too late for Easter to be anything but an afterthought.

A little tale about when things get hard…

Many of you have read the book, If You Give A Mouse A Cookie… to your kids or grandchildren or nieces and nephews.  It’s one of my personal favourites.

The title keeps rolling around in my head as I think about the last few weeks. In the spirit of that style, I came up with my own loose version; If You Start to Pray Then You Will Get Hammered. (You can insert any spiritual discipline in place of prayer.)

If you start to pray, you will get hammered.

Because if you start to pray (read your bible, memorize scripture) the enemy is not going to like it. In fact he’s going to zero in on your efforts.

You’ll start out excited and enthusiastic and then you’ll realize the enormity of the task you’ve taken on. He’ll make sure you see only that side of it and make sure you are so overwhelmed that you forget that I AM is on your side.

You’ll pray hard and then someone will get sick. Or two or three. The whole family is down for the count.

You’ll start again the next day, only to get distracted with all the chores that are now on your plate because everyone else is sick.

After much pep talking and earnestly praying again, things, not people, in your house will break down. Multiple times.

You’ll forget about your quiet time because now you are in crisis mode. I don’t have time to think about stopping to pray, you tell yourself.

But as the days turn to weeks, you whisper prayers as you run, then stop because what’s the point? Everything’s tanked since you started to pray! This isn’t how it’s supposed to be, the enemy will whisper in your ear. You’re doing it wrong. Your prayers are worthless. Give up.

You’ll listen for a while to that slippery snake. And then you’ll realize that even though it feels like the house is crashing down around you and all the balls you’ve been juggling have been dropped and smacked you on the head, in fact you are still standing. And so is your house.

Truth pushes it’s way to the front of your chaotic thoughts. You must be doing something right because it got hard. The enemy didn’t like it so he went after you. Stay the course. You are not alone, I AM with you, says the voice of Truth.

As you look around, you realize that this is indeed true. You see His handprints throughout the chaos, the brokenness and the crazy. They can’t be wiped away. Instead a glimmer of hope cracks through the darkness.

If you start to pray, then you will get hammered. But I AM is with you and He has placed you in the winner’s circle.    The end (but not really as it’s just the beginning!)