What do you do with Easter after Easter?

My cousin died last week.  And a friend was deeply wounded by something a loved one said to her.  And another friend continues to pray for healing from a painful illness.  And another is deeply discouraged.  I imagine each of you could add something to the list.

And last week, after Easter, I was reading in John 20 when Mary comes and finds the tomb empty.  It was my “scheduled” devotional reading, and I’m a rule-follower, so I was obedient, and read it, but inside I was thinking…”Easter is OVER!  Been there, celebrated that.  Let’s move on.” (I’m not proud, just being honest).

I felt like those people who leave their Christmas wreath up til May.  Easter didn’t feel relevant after Easter, which I know is soooo wrong, but like at the tomb, God was gracious and showed up

I was clonked on the head like one of the Three Stooges as I entered into this passage as Mary.  Yes, Mary Magdalene, the one who Jesus miraculously cast all the demons out of, but at the same time, someone like all of us, any of us, who are ever in pain, lost, confused...

She’s so wrapped up in her own despair she doesn’t recognize Jesus.  And He’s RIGHT THERE! With her.  But at first her grief is larger than her God.  It’s all she can see.

“I will never leave or forsake you.”

And Jesus asks her “Why are you crying?

I imagine a gentle tone and understanding in His eyes.  And I think, “What would Mary have answered?”

“I’m wrecked.  I’m disillusioned.  I’m lonely.  I’m afraid.  I don’t know what to do.”?

“The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves those crushed in spirit.”

And then Jesus says her name.  “Mary.”  And I imagine it like a parent would softly say the name of a distraught toddler as they tried to soothe away their tears.

In that one word it seems Jesus is telling Mary, and us, so many things.

I’m here.  And it will be ok because I’m here.  I see you.  I understand your pain.  I hurt with you. Just a few days ago I was the one saying “My God, why have you forsaken me?”  So I get it.  Really.

“Do not fear for I have redeemed you.  I have summoned you by name.  You are mine.”

So for Joyce and Katie and Sue and Nikki, and so many others I pray that you might sense Jesus turning to you and asking “Why are you crying?”  That you might sense Him truly enter into your pain and gently say your name.

Sometimes I guess I just need to be reminded that Easter isn’t just about Easter.  It’s about all those days after Easter when we cry or feel desperate or disappointed or alone and it seems like Jesus has left the building.  But He hasn’t.  So maybe I’ll leave the Easter decorations up another week.

10 Comments

  1. Deb Kielsmeier

    April 18, 2012 at 2:16 PM

    wow, this is powerful. Thank you.

  2. Thanks for your honest reminder and for your wise insight. My daughter has insisted we keep our Easter tree, dried up and brittle, as our centerpiece. “BEcause Easter isn’t Over, Mom!” Out of the mouths of babes! So nice to meet you here today.

  3. Every Morning is Easter Morning
    By Richard K. Avery and Donald S. Marsh
    Avery and Marsh Songbook, ©1967, Hope Publishing Co.
    Ev’ry morning is Easter morning from now on!
    Ev’ry day’s resurrection day, the past is over and gone!
    Good-bye guilt, good-bye fear, good riddance! Hello, Lord, Hello, sun!
    I am one of the Easter People! My new life has begun!
    Ev’ry morning is Easter morning from now on!
    Ev’ry day’s resurrection day, the past is over and gone!
    Daily news is so bad it seems the Good News seldom gets heard.
    Get it straight from the Easter People! God’s in charge spread the word!
    Ev’ry morning is Easter morning from now on!
    Ev’ry day’s resurrection day, the past is over and gone!
    Yesterday I was bored and lonely; But today look and see!
    I belong to the Easter People! Life’s exciting to me!
    Ev’ry morning is Easter morning from now on!
    Ev’ry day’s resurrection day, the past is over and gone!
    Ev’ry morning is Easter morning,
    Ev’ry morning is Easter morning,
    Ev’ry morning is Easter morning,
    From now on!

  4. Oh yes I feel this too. I also had a funeral to go to Easter week and it felt wrong. And like the brief respite of Easter morning was quickly let out like water through my hands. He is here though and I agree, if I hadn’t been too lazy too decorate I’d leave mine up too1

  5. Hi — I stumbled across this blog or I think we can say Jesus led me to this blog… 🙂
    But I just wanted to say, after a quick google search looking for a Mumford & Sons song, I found your blog clicked on it & you filled my heart with such gladness and encouragment. This post is the message that I needed to hear. It was like Jesus spoke through you to me.

    In two weeks I am having heart surgery. I am only in my early twenties but have struggled with heart disease for two years now. I am classified as being in a “high risk category for sudden cardiac arrest.” I struggle with the “why me” and the “why God” questions, which my pastor is helping me sort out and work through…. but I just want you to know that your post has given me that reassurance that Jesus is always “RIGHT THERE.” Honestly, I am so scared and wrapped up in my own despair that I often forget that Jesus is right there!

    Thank you for the encouragment/reassurance/guidance!

    – Maggie

    • Oh Maggie! Tears come as I read your experience and hear your desire for an awareness of Jesus in this scary time. I can’t imagine what it must be like to be in your place, but I’m reminded of the most prevalent command in the Bible -“Fear not.” I am praying for you now – that you would be encouraged and have a powerful sense o God’s presence and strength. And I’m so grateful God led you here for a reminder that He sees you and will never leave you!

  6. Marianne Milano

    April 23, 2012 at 2:02 PM

    Hey Laura,
    Our friend Nikki forwarded your blog post today. ( BTW: It’s not the first post I’ve read and been encouraged by!) Anyway, thanks for listening to His promptings, writing so honestly and reminding us of the POWER, LOVE and UNDERSTANDING of our MIGHTY LORD no matter our circumstances and no matter how many days have passed since EASTER :)!

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