The day after Easter Sunday sometimes feels like one of those “Now what?” moments. It’s similar to that possible let-down feeling the day after Christmas. All the celebration and joy and yada yada was great; but now what do we do?
It’s days like today I can understand a little better why Peter, James, John, and some of the others got back to Galilee after Jesus’ resurrection and found themselves on a boat, again, fishing, again.
It seemed like the whole journey had run its course and now they had to figure out what to do next. So they did what they had done before the adventure. They did what they knew how to do.
Maybe they just needed a little reminder that what had been was not what now was. Doing the same old thing wouldn’t work in the light of something brand new.Doing the same old thing won't work in the light of something brand new. Click To Tweet
LIFE’S ‘NOW WHAT’ MOMENTS
We face numerous “now what” moments throughout life’s trek.
That day after graduating high school or college. Maybe the day after the wedding. Maybe the day after the first child joins the family. Sometimes the day after the new job begins, or the day after the job unexpectedly ends. Also there’s the day after retirement, the day after a family member dies, the day after the personal or natural disaster. All these days fundamentally change our circumstance.
Notice these are all “the day after.” And they aren’t just any old days after. They are the days after our reality has been turned upside-down in some radically life-altering ways. Something new has come into our life, and we now must figure out what to do.
When the new thing that happens and leaves us with a “day after” is a joyful event, we can easily feel a let down now that life has changed. The thrill of the new experience, the new perspective, the new way of viewing life has come and gone, and now we need to keep living. The newness tends to be like adrenaline, and once it has run its course we aren’t sure how to feel or what to do.
ANCIENT AND NEW
Here is where church tradition is actually helpful. Though the institutional church has screwed up a lot of stuff, this is an area where centuries of discernment have proved beneficial. I’m talking about the Lectionary.
Easter is not just one Sunday, says church tradition. Instead, Easter is an entire season. 50 days in fact. 50 days of adjustment to the new reality of Easter.
And what is that new reality of Easter? That all things are being made new. Not just some things; all things. And not just being refurbished, or repaired; being made new. And it’s not that all the old ends in order to make way for something new. But rather that the old is made different, still maintaining something of the old, but in a new reality.
Much of what seems new is actually ancient. We’ve just lost our connection to it somehow.Much of what seems new is actually ancient. We've just lost our connection to it somehow. Click To Tweet
So we label it things like “radical.” Which is actually true in both the intended sense and the actual sense.
The word “radical” is often used by critics to suggest that some new thing is so unknown to reality that it is absurd. It may be absurd, but it’s not unknown to reality. Because “radical” actually means “to the roots,” etymologically speaking. So to be “radical” means something that has its genesis in ancient roots and has simply been retold, recast, recycled in a fresh way.
Yes, the newness of after Easter is quite radical indeed. It is the root of all that is, and it is being retold in a life-altering fresh way.
The new compels us to adjust. This may be why we get “the blues.” Not only because what was has gone. But because we have to adjust to what is.
Whether the new comes after Easter or after some other radical event, we are gifted with a period of adjustment. We get to try out this new thing, and come at it from different angles. We get to wrestle with it. We get to resist it and accept it. We get to do all this and more as we adjust.
Actually, it is only when we refuse to adjust that the post-Easter blues seem appropriate.