The after Easter celebration: God is still with us

As my family sat around the dinner table Easter night, we exchanged quite an array of conversation. Julie (my mom) and I hung in there as we were surrounded by 7 of our favorite boys/guys/men (they are really all men – but I can’t help remember when some of them were my real life baby dolls).

Life with boys is fun. I can’t even imagine having a daughter if we’re being honest, but I can imagine having a little football team of love to melt my heart, pocketbook, and sanity.  However, 7 is a lot of men and a lot of men conversation and a lot of jokes, youtube videos, memes, hunting/fishing talk, and bathroom chatter. It’s such a different conversational flow than women, but no less entertaining trying to follow their thought processes. I’m continuously amazed at how short the road must be from when they think something and then let it flow out of their mouth, something I wonder if there even is such a filter or if they think about things as they say them? I highly recommend all people to surround themselves with funny guys. Laughter is pure gold these days and I’m overflowing with it when I’m with them. Of all the things we shared together in conversation (which I assure you was plenty) my favorite was when the serious statement slipped in from the guy sitting next me. All the guys had spent their weekend serving in most of the 10 services our church held for Easter. I had sang all day at one our campuses and could feel sickness bubbling up inside. We were all tired. But we were happy to be tired together after such a beautiful weekend.

 

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We reveled in the thousands that came to our church that Sunday and the millions upon millions (probably billions but I have no idea factual numbers on this one) that gathered at all churches and the hype and momentum created by christians around the world because this was the weekend that changed it all. And in honor of THIS being the weekend, the world should go to church, right? While we agree, we celebrated, we paused in our own humility that Jesus found something in us worth saving, the whispered statement next to me stuck with me – “Why don’t we do church like this every weekend. It shouldn’t just be Easter. Easter doesn’t really ever end”.

 

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I believe the christian doesn’t do Easter like the holiday church attender does. You see the beautiful celebrations that arose from every corner and crevice of this Earth on Sunday were filled with shouts of praise from the believer both declaring victory over their past and future while simultaneously REMINDING one self that this Earth is but a moment in the grand scheme, heaven in our home, victory is ours, and death has been defeated. The non-believer, holiday church goer, and innocent bystanders were hopefully showered with Jesus, Jesus, and more Jesus.

One celebrated and reminded their soul that whether it’s neck deep in a valley or shining bright on a mountain top, Jesus has won it all. His love is enough -so much so – that everything doesn’t have to fall into the place I want it too. Because simply having access to Jesus is all we ever actually need.

The other was greeted with a Savior so committed, so loving, so passionate, so gracious, so humble – and so very much in pursuit of their heart so they might taste and see his goodness, be showered with his love and be healed from the blows of life.

I had already been dwelling on the same thing, but I loved that one of them said it in between the youtube video and jokes. I wrote a blog about my thoughts on Easter and Jesus and social media  and while I could have moved on with life these past few days I just haven’t been able to get past a simple fact woven through the foundation of this Easter story.

Easter never ends, because Easter is not the end it is the beginning.

 

There are so many reasons behind why Jesus came to Earth, but the only one I’m stuck on – is he came so I could get to know him. Let’s be honest, if I’m going to let anyone be the lover of anything in my life I need to know you….like K-N-O-W you. 🙂 Easter weekend (as the world refers to it) is where it ALL begins for me. You see, he made me, so I get that he knows me. He designed me and strategically placed me in this world at a specific time (which was a costly price for my parents who struggled with infertility – but that’s another story) with these specific people and has filled my heart with passions and dreams that line up with his purposes. These are the things that make me come alive. It’s almost impossible to explain or describe, but when you’ve come alive – you just know it and you’re not interested in former substitutes.

While the Easter chaos has calmed and life is slipping back into routine – don’t lose site that Easter is truly the beginning. It the beginning of getting to know OUR God. A God who wants you to know Him. We’ve all met people who didn’t really want to get to know us, but maybe because of jobs or relationships they were stuck with us for a season like gum remnants you can’t scrape off the bottom of your shoe. It’s just frustrating for all parties involved.

Luckily, that’s NOT how Jesus felt. He wanted us to K-N-O-W him. So much so that he became man. He took a form we would recognize with, relate to, and understand the easiest. He lived in our world, he encountered things we deal with – cultural expectations, politics, money, sickness, religious leaders, family, friendship, enemies. He modeled to us how to interact and respond.

I don’t believe he wanted us to be confused about his demeanor. Jesus came and gave us a chance at life. But he also came so we could see him and know him and realize that even when God slips into human form and sits in the midst of sinners – that he is love and compassion and truth. The sinner next to him did not cause him to lash out and run, it was just the opposite. He sat with the sinner, he dined with the broken, he sought out the sick, and he embraced the children, widows, and poor. He wasn’t too busy, too important, or too intelligent. He was in the moment. He didn’t waste breathe or moment on mindless arguments, but he didn’t ignore injustice either. 

What a beautiful truth to stand upon that in our most desolate and broken moment or in our nastiest and most selfish act, Jesus isn’t running from us – he right there next to us.

Matthew 1:23 says that the virgin Mary would become with child and give birth to a son named Immanuel meaning GOD WITH US.

God is with us. Jesus is WITH you. He is with you in brokenness, he is reaching for you in illness, he is calling you out of injustice, he is guiding you out of confusion, he is removing you from the old things and placing purpose in your life, he is changing your name, he is reminding you to stay, rest, sit, and enjoy,  he is calling forth the dead to come alive inside of you, HE – IS – WITH – YOU.

Oh, what a celebration each day should be. The grave could not hold him and for that my heart awoke for eternity, but it is because he came and dwelled on this earth and on this same ground I walk upon that I was able to get a glimpse of his love, passion, and pursuit of me in both my best and worst moments. He is with me always.

Me & My Dad!
After dinner we all headed to the lakefront for some sunshine, a sunset, dog playing and football! They played, I watched. Isn’t my dad the cutest?
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