Many church pastors take vacation after Easter, with good reason. After orchestrating all of that joyous celebration and promise of new life, we crawl into bed and wait for new life to come to us! And it does, sometimes slowly. It’s hard to explain how emotionally draining Lent and Holy Week can be. Pastors know that most people don’t live by the church calendar that marks a solemn Lent for 40 days, and a re-created week of good-byes, betrayals, torment and the death of Jesus during Holy Week. And yet, church folks need to know the whole story, even while they go about their everyday lives eating breakfast, driving to work, watching kids’ baseball games, following Facebook, sweating workouts, going shopping and all the rest. Easter only makes sense if you know what came first.
There is life after death. A new book Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience and Finding Joy and website, optionb.com are helping people cope with adversity and embrace life after tragic personal events. Sheryl Sandberg, of Lean In fame, and COO of Facebook wrote the book about how she coped after she lost her husband suddenly in 2015. Among her many helpful insights about surviving tragedy is one that resonates with people of faith. Even in the midst of grief, find joy and look for ways to be grateful. It’s our spiritual task during the Great 50 Days of Easter to find joy in ways small or large, and to actively notice what we have to be grateful for.
Death gives us a new perspective on life. It’s true personally and it’s true in the church. I like that the 50 Days of Easter lasts longer than the 40 days of Lent. If we can reflect for 40 days, we can surely rejoice for 50! See you in church.