Today is Easter Monday. Having just “experienced” Jesus’ death and resurrection–thanks be to God!–I’m asking myself the following question, prompted by N. T. Wright: “So how can we learn to live as wide-awake people, as Easter people?” He asks this question in Surprised by Hope, which is a book on heaven, resurrection and the mission of the church. The following is a few brief quotations from this very significant book, which will answer the above question, and give us some guidance as to how we can more fully experience Easter.
First, Wright’s concern: “I have come to believe that many churches simply throw Easter away year by year; and I want to plead that we rethink how we do it so as to help each other, as a church and as individuals, to live what we profess” (255).
“For a start, consider Easter Day itself. . . . Easter is about the wild delight of God’s power. . . we ought to shout Alleluias instead of murmuring them. . . we should splash water about as we renew our baptismal views” (255).
“But my biggest problem starts on Easter Monday. I regard it as absurd and unjustifiable that we should spend forty days keeping Lent. . . and then, after a rather odd Holy Saturday, we have a single day of celebration” (256). (Emphasis his.)
“We should be taking steps to celebrate Easter in creative new ways: in art, literature, children’s games, poetry, music, dance, festivals, bells, special concerts, anything that comes to mind. This is our greatest festival. . . .Take Easter away, and you don’t have a New Testament; you don’t have a Christianity; as Paul says, you are still in your sins. . . .This is our greatest day. We should put the flags out.” (256-257)
I am very grateful for Wright’s perspective. How can we make Easter the truly great celebration of new life in Christ that it is supposed to be?