With Easter in the rear view mirror it is time to get back to reality. Reality is not 5 full services in 3 locations with police assistance to get traffic on and off the campus. It is not having to send people away because the main auditorium and overflow are packed. I wish everyday were Easter Sunday, but it's time to return to the real world.
What is the real world like? Painful, costly, erratic and sometimes frightening. Corporately, it is about working through the budget, getting by with much of the staff on vacation when we work with a staff too small for our size to begin with, and back to funerals, hospitals and nursing home visits. In other words, dealing with all the fallout of living in a sinful world. Individually, the real world is dealing with your own failures and weaknesses. It is coming to grips with impure motives, jealousies, envy and greed. Without the busyness of Easter to keep on focus my mind wanders in and out of frustration with people who let me down and God who seems too quiet and too distant. Living in the real world causes me to lean toward negativity and skepticism. So what is the Rx for living victoriously in the real world? God's Word!
The Bible consistently elevates my spirit and gets my thoughts out of the dumpster. I love the NLT. It's my new favorite translation. For example listen to Ephesians 4:30, "And do not bring sorrow to God's Holy Spirit by the way you live. Remember, He has identified you as His own, guaranteeing that you will be saved on the day of redemption." I read that and thought, "Guilty." If I walk down the path that leads to negativity and skepticism, I am bringing sorrow to His Holy Spirit. Why is that important? Because I'm identified with Him and if people see me that way then they may assume the same thing about Christ. Not only that, but He has guaranteed my ultimate salvation. Isn't that what we just sang about while we celebrated the cross and the empty tomb Sunday? God's Word turns me around and points me in the right direction. I worry less about my failures and the inconsistency of others and think more about His grace.
While we can't expect the crowds and excitement at church to equal Easter each and every Sunday, we can live in the hope that someday everyday will be a celebration! Until that day I'll keep turning to His Word for encouragement. (And looking forward to next Easter!)