I’ve often wondered what the week after Easter was like for the first disciples.
His resurrection changed everything—and still could.
I told my husband, Jim, “This will be the only Easter of my life that I hear an Easter sermon and then go back to sleep.”
His response: “That’s probably a good idea.”
(In case you don’t know, my husband is also my preacher.)
Easter Sunday actually turned out to be a wonderful day.
Jim and I went walking in our neighborhood, waving at people (from a distance) and wishing them a happy Easter. As we reached our front door, we commented that, on any other Easter Sunday of our lives, we wouldn’t even have said “Amen” yet.
This year, we were home with our feet up before noon. We made lunch and then enjoyed eating outside on our patio.
Easter from a “preacher’s wife perspective”
I will remember Easter 2020 with fondness.
From a “preacher’s wife” perspective, it was calm and peaceful. I really missed our chapel family this year, but we didn’t have to work as hard as we normally do.
When you are in ministry, Easter Sunday is the Super Bowl Sunday of the year. The preacher is the quarterback, and while he isn’t the only one on the field, he feels most responsible for the game.
That said, every quarterback on Super Bowl Sunday wishes he were in the game. Jim probably felt a bit differently about Easter 2020 than I did.
Are we “in this together”?
“We are in this together.”
Those words have become a community catchphrase for these COVID-19 days. It is in the TV ads, on T-shirts, and displayed on signs and banners. But, I tend to ponder what those words really mean to those who hear it.
That phrase is usually spoken with the hope that it will make people feel better about their circumstances. In other words, “We all have problems in life; therefore, we are all in this together.”
It sounds good, but, truthfully, we rarely share the difficulties of a person’s life—because we rarely can.
COVID-19 has impacted everyone, everywhere. In that sense, we are in this together.
But this pandemic does not impact everyone in the same ways.
- Some people will lose a loved one to this disease. The rest of us will lose someone we knew.
- Some people are risking their lives when they go to work. Others are working safely at home. Still others are out of work, not knowing if they will have a job when this crisis is over.
- Some of us have plenty of stuff to sustain us during this crisis. (Okay, I confess. I might have “hoarded” just a bit.) Others didn’t have the ability to store things up in advance and have run out of things they need. People have been waiting in long lines for food, diapers, and other basic items.
- Some of us have hope, believing that everything will be okay again. Others don’t know if they have ever been hopeful about their futures.
Maybe we are all in this together, but not in the same ways.
The biblical “together”
I think utter gratitude for Jesus must have dominated the hearts, lives, and conversations of those first disciples following the resurrection.
Jesus was their teacher, their leader, their miracle-working Messiah. Then Jesus was killed, buried—and raised. People saw the risen Christ and knew he was God’s holy Son. Everything about their lives changed as a result.
Those early Christians could have said, “We are in this together.”
The book of Acts says, “Now the full number of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one said that any of the things that belonged to him was his own, but they had everything in common. And with great power the apostles were giving their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all. There was not a needy person among them, for as many as were owners of lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold and laid it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need” (Acts 4:32–35).
Those early Christians lived with joyful abandon because they believed Jesus would return at any moment.
Their stuff, in the meantime, was for anyone who needed it. That is why they were together, “with one heart and soul.”
An Easter perspective
We should try to share the perspective those first disciples owned.
Until Jesus returns, we should allow God’s grace to be powerfully at work in each of us when there are needy persons among us. Those of us who have stuff can share with those who have need, remembering that not every need is material.
People still need what Jesus died to give. People need resurrection joy and assurance of their salvation.
Pope John Paul II said, “We are the Easter people and Hallelujah is our song.” Hallelujah means “God be praised.” “Easter people” praise God with gratitude born from grace.
A free download for the “Easter people”
Jesus told his disciples, “For you always have the poor with you, but you will not always have me” (Matthew 26:11). I think if Jesus were speaking to his disciples today, he might say something like, “You will always have the poor with you, but you will not always have opportunities like these.”
I think this pandemic has provided a unique season for ministry. The “Easter people” should be ready to praise God for giving us opportunities to help.
Americans really aren’t in this together. People have different needs during these days. If you are like me, you are “tipping” more often right now. I’m picking up groceries, and sometimes things are delivered. I’m noticing people who have and others who are struggling. I wanted to be able to express my gratitude and help financially, but I wished for the opportunity to help spiritually as well. It was easy to say “God bless you,” but I wanted to do more. So, I wrote a flyer that I’ve been using whenever I leave a tip or want to thank someone.
I would love to give it to all of you to use as the Lord leads. It is easily downloaded and can be printed at home. There are two flyers per page, and anyone is welcome to use it to offer a generous gift and your faith.
Cut the page in half lengthwise and then fold each flyer in half. I put the money inside the fold and write a few words of gratitude on the blank page inside. I’ve given several away and they have been well received. It gives me joy to give more than just the money.
Everyone appreciates being appreciated, and I imagine most can really use extra financial help right now. We are God’s “Easter people,” and we have a unique opportunity right now.
Jesus asked Simon Peter, “Do you love me?”
The apostle said, “Yes Lord, I love you.”
Jesus responded, saying, “Then feed my sheep.”
Our gratitude and love for Jesus can be expressed through our grace and generosity to others. It’s fine to say “we are all in this together,” but how much better is it if the Lord uses us to bring people to himself, through faith?
In Christ, we actually could be in this together.