President Bartlett of the West Wing series could be a very decisive man, and when he was finished with a subject, he would close it down with “what’s next?” Woe betide any staffer who tried to continue with any unanswered aspect of that topic!
Easter Sunday is not an end, but a beginning. It signals the start of the new creation. Death gives way to Life, and becomes a point in the journey, no longer the ending. However it’s easy (and a frequent error) to see Easter as the final destination after the journey of Lent and Holy Week, and to then say, what’s next?
Easter is not merely a day, it is a whole season lasting seven weeks, up to Pentecost. It is a time to celebrate this new beginning. To dwell in the moment for a while, to savour the joy of the Resurrection which has changed absolutely everything for all creation. The Resurrection has renewed, restored, and reconciled all creation to God. It is still a work in progress – that healing work which Jesus began has not yet come to completion, for this world is still so fractured and hurting, primarily because of humanity’s collective inability to admit our failures and ask for God’s help.
We could ask “what’s next?” and move on from Easter, leaving it behind as just a long weekend, returning to the work of the ‘real world’. However I wonder if that would be to miss the point somewhat. What if the point of Easter was that we live permanently in the light of the Resurrection? We’re always rushing on to the next thing. It’s part of modern life. “What’s next?” we demand, the moment that the previous thing finishes, and sometimes even sooner!
Recently I realised that I find it almost impossible to rest and be truly still. The endless to-do list is a crushing burden, and phones and tablets make it easy to “just do” something whilst supposedly doing something else. The phone pings and we react, even if talking to someone or immersed in another activity. I wonder how many of you can recognise this, and find yourselves doing the same or similar? Even when praying I find myself turning over a stone or a set of beads. There’s a pad and pencil to hand to write down all the irritating thoughts and rememberings that come into my mind the moment I try to still it.
Why does this matter? Well, perhaps it doesn’t. But I do wonder whether this incessant multitasking activity steals the joy of the moment. I watch my daughter playing with Lego, and remember doing the same as a child. Total and complete concentration, with nothing else to occupy or distract my mind. Maybe this Easter I’ll try colouring again, or crochet without trying to also listen to the audio of some improving book that I ought to read! Feel free to laugh! My guess however is that for many of you, it will be a wry laughter as you recognise yourself in my words.
May Easter bring you peace, healing, and renewal, not only in body, mind and spirit, but also in your relationships – with God, with each other, and with yourself.