Many of you were in the same place I was at some point today (Easter Sunday) – at church. The celebration of Jesus’ resurrection from the dead is the central hope and foundation of the Christian faith. His new life brings the promise of new life to us today, to all who call on his name and give our lives in service to the High King. The hope and promise of Easter Sunday is eternal life, joy, and blessings beyond measure. No wonder we call it Good News!
And yet, so many of us living with this hope face our days with a spirit of sombre obligation. What do I have to do today? What demands must be met? What might go wrong? How close am I to living up to someone else’s expectations? Is this all there is? Even in our worship services together at church we can so easily bring this same demeanor of going through the motions and just doing what we have to do. Our Easter service this morning was nice. We sang some pretty songs and dwelt on the power of the resurrection of Christ. But I didn’t really see or feel a genuine spirit of celebration in anyone. Grateful? Yes. Happy? Oh, many looked happy. Hopeful? I definitely saw hopefulness around me. But genuine celebration? Not really. Why is this?
I think perhaps it is because we live so much in the physical here-and-now world. We fix our eyes on what is seen. And we give way too much thought to rules of decorum. I mean, let’s face it. If we really started celebrating the resurrected life of the Son of God the way we celebrate the victories of this world – Sugar Bowl wins, Final Four bids, etc – we might look like we’d lost our minds. Just look and listen the next time some die-hard sports fans are reveling in their team’s big win. They go crazy. I say this, not to give a hard time to sports fans, but to point out that we really do naturally know how to celebrate – when the victory is real and important to us and hits close to home. We just don’t seem to get too fired up about our faith. Religion is nice, and should inspire hope and good deeds. But dancing for joy? Get serious!
As the service concluded this morning and I began pondering why we lack a spirit of enthusiastic celebration, my three year old and his best friend came bounding down the aisle to climb on to the stage at the front of the sanctuary. They proceeded to race around and around, gleefully catching and hugging one another. They played chase through the baptistry curtains. They would “fall down” so they could help each other up. They laughed. They bounded up and down the steps. They even preached a few brief, semi-comprehensible sermons at the podium. They were happy for the gifts of life and friendship and laughter. And so, they danced. In short, they were frolicking. The “worship” was over, but the celebration was just getting fired up. And they didn’t care what anyone thought about them. They just knew they needed to make the most of the good thing they had going right then and there.
Something tells me they had found the spirit of Easter Sunday where the grown-ups had failed to grasp it. Hadn’t we come together to celebrate life? Thanks, boys, for showing me how. May you never stop frolicking! And may God give us “mature ones” the faith to fix our eyes on what is unseen, so we may join in the dance like frolicking children!