Jesus died and rose from the dead. You know the story. For about 40 days of Lent and leading up to Easter we focus on this story. Then it's Easter Sunday. A day when churches overflow and we sing songs of celebration. We gather with family and oo and ah at the sweetness of the littles in their Easter finery. There will be ham, cheesy potatoes, and an Easter Egg Hunt. The prayer at dinner is lengthy as we thank God for all he has done for us. We feel free, brand new, and challenged to make a difference in the world and be the person God saved us to be. What an incredible day. Therein lies the problem, we make it just one day.
Then comes Monday. Back to life. The long weekend is over. We throw out the leftover Easter candy we no longer want to be tempted by. I tearfully put a Cadbury Egg down the garbage disposal this morning. Not kidding.
We start the process of responding to the 1000 emails we have ignored all weekend. We empty the dishwasher of the good dishes and put them away until possibly Christmas. Then we forget because we have moved on. Because you know, life.
Maybe all these things don't apply to you, but you get what I mean. I mean we had steak instead of ham on paper plates instead of China. We however did have the cheesy potatoes which Otto was a big fan of. Any time Otto eats with gusto we cheer and he loved the potatoes!
Back to the real issue here. Easter CAN'T be just a day people! It has to be our life.
Our pastor at the Florabama Church yesterday really hit me with that. He said this, and I I was frantically writing it down as I knew I would want to share it. Give it a listen. https://youtu.be/K-xdTNecu14
"The cross tells me I am loved and forgiven and it gives us hope and love. But the Resurrection is an invitation. An invitation to participate. Do not let Easter just become a story about Jesus dying to save us. Do not let it become a day we just comment on and gleefully tell each other in person and on social media that He is Risen. Don't just observe Easter Sunday. Become a part of it and live it.
What does that mean? I was talking to a friend about this earlier this morning and she heard a similar message at church. They were asked to put their hands out in front of them and reach out and join in the life that God is inviting us to.
So what are YOU being invited to? You know what it is. You have felt the nudge often and have tried to put it aside. I am asking you to acknowledge and embrace it, hold out your hand. Even when it seems unbelievable that God would ask this of you.
My mind goes often to when God asked me to speak up about my alcoholism. Talk about not wanting to listen! I tried to ignore the ask for so long with excuses. I'm not ready. I'm ashamed. I just want to put it behind me and move on. God had a different plan and just like Jonah I ran the other way for awhile. Until one day I quit running and started listening. I have been trying to be obedient ever since. The rewards of getting sober and then following his asks of me have been exceedingly more than I could have ever imagined. I see now in almost every hurt in life that God has a plan for good in it.
The Lent Series I did with Matthew Kelly was so so good. I know this because I completed it. All 40 days. That is a first for me. I didn't give up anything for Lent, but instead made a commitment to do the whole 40 days. No matter what tried to get in my way on some crazy days, I completed it. It changed my thought process immensely.
In this series https://dynamiccatholic.com/best-lent-ever I was continuously asked what I needed to do to keep becoming the best version of myself. Matthew Kelly's point was this: What if we all did that every day? Tried to be the best version of ourselves? What a beautiful world this would be.
So today I invite you to it. Be the best version of yourself. Accept the invitation to participate in the Resurrection. You won't be disappointed. Make it a story with unending chapters.
Blessings on the week ahead,