On the church calendar, Eastertide is the season between Resurrection Sunday and Pentecost Sunday. Just like Jesus appeared to them for forty days after His resurrection until His ascension, we need forty days to allow our souls to adjust to Easter Sunday each year. Resurrection Sunday is a day that calls souls to church. Our church offered nine services to accommodate all the people who enter the church. Some come alone; others as part of a family obligation.
During the weeks of Eastertide those same souls go back to their lives. They don’t let the light they sensed drawing them to church continue to burn and reveal what is greatest about life. They return to their life as they love it without consideration of their church experience. It is a place where they are more comfortable. They might feel smarter there—rather than believing in God as a crutch. They feel more in control there. Less is asked of them there. There is no need to be sacrificial with their money, their time, or their talents. No one asks them to move deeper into a relationship with God or gives them guidelines to purity. They might even feel better about themselves than the people they associate with because they went to church on Easter.
It’s not just the Church’s Easter guests who go back to life as normal during Eastertide. Those who come to the church regularly let the joy of Easter fade out and the realities of life come more into view. It was not so for Peter and the other disciples. Easter changed everything for them. Their lives were centered on the love of God that sent His Son Jesus to live and die and rise again to cover our sins. This love of God compelled them to love God the way Jesus loved God. No longer did they love the parts of life that made them feel comfortable—romance, business success, and acclaim from their community. Instead they loved loving and serving God. They left behind the life-giving experiences they had come to enjoy and entered deeper into a love for God that was greater than life.
King David’s soul felt like theirs. He was living in the desert of Judah. He had a bounty on his head, hiding from King Saul and his henchmen. He was chased to the outskirts of Israel where there was little vegetation and less life-sustaining water and separated from the wife that he loved and the Temple worship he adored. (I assume he had to leave his harp behind so there was no music to comfort his soul.) Desperately alone, and separated from the joys of life—a comfortable home and family, a satisfying career, great friends who loved, encouraged and inspired—David penned these words in Psalm 63:1-3:
“You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water. I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and your glory. Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify You.”
How can we connect to the truth that God’s love is greater than life? How can we discover what our lives are really all about? How can we be let go of the charms of this life and cling to the love of God? That is what happened to the disciples after Easter and I want the same to happen in my soul.