He is risen!
He is risen indeed.
The past few years, I must admit that Easter has been something of a bittersweet thing for me. The church buildings are packed with people (many of whom don’t attend but once a year), and for over 30 years, I was an integral part of putting the church’s best foot forward to receive them, in the hopes that some would actually return the following week. Easter (or Resurrection Sunday, as some prefer to call it over its more pagan moniker) is supposed to be a high holy day for the church, bigger even than Christmas. After all, the reason the Church exists–the reason we can have relationship with God–is that Jesus rose from the dead.
But for the past few years, anyhow, on Easter Sunday, I look for a place to park amid the overflow from the Catholic Church a block away, and instead I come to the coffee shop to blog. It still feels a little weird.
Don’t misunderstand–and please don’t find me blasphemous for admitting this–there’s a lot about Easter Sunday in institutional church I don’t miss. It has nothing to do with my honor and respect and praise for what Christ has done for me, and for us all. But the truth is, I never had much chance to enjoy Easter because I was always so dang busy. It’s the first season in my life where I’ve really had a chance to breathe, to take it in. But it’s still weird feeling like the only Christian in the world who isn’t in a gathering this morning. (Although I know that’s not the case.)
If you think about it, there’s a difference between observing the resurrection of Christ, and living in it. Which is better? Which is more of an act of worship?
When I first came to this new place with my family, I was practically dead inside. Oh, I was blogging up a storm, processing a lot of thoughts and feelings and hope for a fresh expression of faith outside the walls…but the truth is, the pressures of the institution had pretty much robbed me of all sense of creative inspiration. Music wasn’t a joy anymore–it had become a chore, a means to an end. I don’t think I realized how bad it had gotten until I took some time to detox. When I first started playing music outside the walls, I was surprised at how difficult it was to find my voice, to change gears, to write new songs that didn’t have a prescribed topic for a specific audience.
But in the past couple of months, something has changed. The seed was planted, I think, a couple of years ago, when I scored The Director’s last short film. But when I made a quality decision not just to dabble in this type of composition, but to begin preparing myself to do it for real…something came to life all over again, like a breath of life I hadn’t felt in a long time. It’s the first time I’ve genuinely been excited about creating in many years. Every chance I get, I’m in my studio, and if I’m not working on composing some music, I’m watching videos and reading up on how to do it better.
Since I’ve found myself alienated from the only platform for ministry I ever knew, there’s still a lot I don’t know about what I’m supposed to do. But I do know I’m supposed to do this. Because there is life there. And there is worship in the notes I play that I don’t think I’ve ever experienced before. It’s like coming back from the dead.
So in a manner of speaking, I’m now living in a sense of resurrection that I haven’t experienced, but desperately need. In a very tangible way…I now live, because HE lives.
And there goes my false sense of guilt for being in the coffee shop this morning.
Like I said, I’ve got no intention of ruining Easter for anyone, nor am I denouncing this day (I hate it when anyone does that with Christmas, which happens to be my favorite holiday). But my admonition is that however you observe it, make sure it means something. For me, personally, at this point in my life, recognizing and experiencing the actual resurrection happening in my own soul gives this day far more meaning than any church service I might attend out of duty.
Because that’s what the day is really about, isn’t it? Resurrection? Coming back to life?