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Faith column: We need the reminders of Easter to linger

Why not keep the image of new life up a bit longer?

072220.O.DG.PASTORCOLUMN
McCormick

WORTHINGTON — The other day I saw the bag of plastic Easter eggs still hanging in our kitchen. All of the candy from our Easter egg hunt with our son had been consumed (mostly by our son… but his parents helped, too). The toys from the Easter baskets he received were strewn around the living room, all of them well used by enthusiastic play.

The Easter food has been consumed and the egg dye used up. This type of scenario isn’t just true at our house. When you go into stores now, the Easter decorations and gifts are either gone (and replaced with Mother’s Day or summer things) or marked down significantly.

And, yet, I still have the Easter wreath on my front door. Each time I go to take it down, I think to myself, “But it’s still Easter… Why not keep the image of new life up a bit longer? I could use that reminder.”

In many of our church traditions, we celebrate Easter for six full weeks. In that sense, Easter is not past. We are just in the middle of it! And, I really appreciate (and need) the whole six weeks. I would imagine that most of us do.

There is so much in this world that drags us down and “kills” us in big and small ways. Broken relationships, illness, aging, fears that we won’t have the things we need to care for ourselves or our families, feelings of self-doubt, anger and the separation and sadness caused by the death of loved ones.

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One week of remembering the new life we have in Christ surely is not enough. One week of remembering the Resurrection is surely not enough. We need to linger in Easter and let it take hold of our hearts and transform our vision for the future.

In many faith traditions, the Easter season is full of Resurrection stories or scripture passages that remind us of the new life we have in Christ. That is, one week it is the story of Thomas asking to see the nail marks of Jesus’ hands upon his resurrection and the next it is the story of Jesus cooking fish to share with the fishermen disciples.

One week Jesus is offering words of assurance that no one can snatch his sheep from his hand. The next, Jesus is reminding them of the new life they have through loving each other.

Our liturgy tells and re-tells the story of Jesus’ triumph over death, destruction and despair. Far from becoming redundant or repetitive, for me the consistent reminders offer strength and hope. Everlasting life comes to us daily in more ways than we can count and surely more ways than we notice. We need the reminders to look for new life!

In this Easter season, may each one of us take time to see the ways that Jesus continues to give us new life. Linger in Easter a bit longer. We all need it! Take the time to consider the full impact of this time of hope in the church year. Where have you seen the power of the resurrection during the past few weeks?

As you plant flowers and seeds, may you be reminded that Christ’s life for us on Easter comes to us in a myriad of ways each day. Like the women at the tomb, may you go out and share the Good News. May your acts of forgiveness, generosity and love be living signs of the power of our life in Christ.

Happy Easter … still!

Jeanette McCormick is pastor of First Lutheran Church in Worthington and Grace Lutheran Church in rural Round Lake.

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