It’s almost been a week since we celebrated Easter and, like every year (but this one more than others), I’m getting that “what now?” feeling. It’s that feeling you get after walking out your last guest from a dinner party or birthday celebration. Or turning to see the mess behind you after your friends just rang in the New Year. *cue Taylor Swift*
Whether or not you feel it at this moment, the world will reopen one day. Travel bans will be lifted, concerts and festivals will set new dates, the stock market will swing up…but where will we be going?
Now that same day [that Jesus arose from the dead] two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem. They were talking with each other about everything that had happened. As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; but they were kept from recognizing him.Luke 24:13-21
He asked them, “What are you discussing together as you walk along?” They stood still, their faces downcast. One of them, named Cleopas, asked him, “Are you the only one visiting Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?”
“What things?” he asked.
“About Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied. “He was a prophet, powerful in word and deed before God and all the people…and they crucified him; but we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel.
In a sense, Cleopas and his companion were also asking, “What now?” They had seen their assumed Messiah brutally put to death and now they’re just… waiting.
They’re moving but they’re not going anywhere. They’re looking, but definitely not seeing.
We celebrate Easter very differently than the first Easter was celebrated. There were no egg hunts; there were no joyous church services. Before that Third Day, it was just another day within Passover. But that day changed everything. It was a brave new world for those disciples and followers.
I want you to imagine the hope of your entire present, future, and eternity. Now imagine giving that hope to one Person, but that Person is killed by the largest superpower in the world at the time. What does that feel like to you?? It’s gutting, right? It’s raw and numbing; you came all this way and gave up so much, and now you’re just left waiting for what to do next. What now?
When met with conflict, there is usually a conclusion to that conflict. And in that space – in the space those travelers were in, too – we all have an opportunity. For them, it’s the question: “Do I really believe Jesus is who he says he is, and can do what he said he’d do?” That’s a big what-now question because it will define the rest of their lives – and it’s not too different for us.
So, after this year’s very different Easter, what now?
Mentally, how are you? Are you winning the day, or just faking it? Whether you’re lonely or overwhelmed, I hope you seek out the Lord to fight those thoughts.
Emotionally, are you anxious about your family’s finances or what the future will mean for your kids? Rely on the promises that God gives – those never change, even when our world does.
Physically, have you used this pandemic as an excuse to neglect self-care? Take showers, go for walks, eat healthy.
And spiritually, do YOU believe God is who he says he is and can do what he said he’ll do? I hope this Easter changed your perspective on church; it’s not a building to visit once a week – it’s a people with a mission to love well. I hope your eyes are opened like the travelers on their walk with Jesus. This year, I hope you don’t let Easter go by without it changing you.
Lean in. This is where the proof meets the pudding, where the rubber meets the road. This is where the story of Jesus that you’ve skimmed before becomes the blueprint for a life well lived.
I hope it’s your brave new world.