Now that Easter is over ... what's next?: Column
Have you ever noticed that we are a people who live from one event to another? In thinking of family, we cannot wait for the next holiday or special event to get to see those we care about, those we love. Recently, we look at the calendar to figure out how we will decorate the house to fit the next big holiday. The strings of lights remain up throughout the year and all we do is insert the proper colored bulbs. We even do it in our churches by thinking about the appropriate music or type of service we need to plan so that recognition is given to the various holidays, while some of them are not really “holy days.”
We have just come through the celebration of a risen Savior, Jesus Christ the Lord. The pinnacle of the gospel message and what is the point to the workings of God throughout the Bible. But what now? What are we to focus on right now, these Sundays after Easter? It is 50 days until the celebration of Pentecost, the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, but what about now? Are we to just keep building up the momentum until that next holy day?
The Lord has brought it to my attention, in other words I had an “aha” moment in His word, and I found that something did happen to and for the disciples as they were told to wait until ... There were the visitations of the Lord that took place for a particular reason.
At first, they were opportunities for the Lord to bring comfort to those who were afraid and found struggling with their faith. They began on resurrection day, Easter. Mary was weeping in the garden when Jesus appeared, then to Peter, who had been weeping uncontrollably because of his denials and desertion. We cannot forget the two disciples on the Emmaus road who were not of the 12 but are counted in the group. Then the group without Thomas and eight days later with Thomas. There was the 500 or more in Galilee, to James (Christ’s half-brother), to all the apostles and later to Paul according to 1 Corinthians 15 along with the gospels.
But what about us today? What do we do after Easter? In John 20, beginning with verse 19, even when the doors and windows were closed and locked Jesus came and stood in their midst. After proving that it was really Him by the revealing of His hands, He passed to them His peace (that God had been involved in all that took place and that He was sending them to serve), but then something extraordinary took place. Jesus breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” That is it! Now is the time for us to receive a fresh anointing or a first anointing of the Holy Spirit to fulfill in us what Jesus said was the Holy Spirit’s job description. Be led into all truth (all God’s truth), be convicted of the wrong, and turn to what is right not just for some but for all mankind.
In other words, what are we to be doing? We are to be living out God’s wonderful plan each and every day for mercy’s sake and those that will learn what God’s amazing grace is all about ... from now on through all the holidays that we have to celebrate!
God be with us all,
Rev. David H. Shirer, Ed.D.