Easter story is a challenge for us to go, tell

Published 1:32 am Saturday, April 15, 2017

By Laura Ashley Harper

Just this morning I went by Walmart to grab a few things for the days ahead and as I was checking out I made small talk with the college-aged cashier. I asked her if she had any big plans for Easter weekend, and she very plainly responded that Easter was over for her. She explained that once you grow out of Easter baskets, celebrating Easter is pretty much done. My heart ached. I quickly asked her if she wanted to come to church Sunday, but she shot me down pretty frankly saying she would be working all day Sunday. Easter was over for her.

For many who have grown up going to church and knowing the stories of the Bible, Easter weekend can easily slip into the routine-ness of every other Sunday. Because we know the story so well we can be numb to the actual historical events as well as the heart-gripping, life-changing truth of Easter.

I’ll admit that it’s easy to do the resurrection eggs, go to the egg hunts, prep the Easter baskets and get the Sunday lunch menu planned. It’s easy to go through the motions and forget what actually happened this week in history.

The real dinner that Jesus shared with his friends where he washed their feet and took the bread and the wine and told them all that was about to happen. (Matthew 26:17-29)

The real prayer that Jesus agonizingly prayed to his father. (Matthew 26:36-46)

The real betrayal of Judas to Jesus. (Matthew 26:47-50)

The real beating, whipping, and cruxifiction of Jesus. (Matthew 27:27-36)

The real nails that were driven into Jesus’ hands and feet.

The real mocking that bystanders shouted at Jesus as he hung there exposed. (Matthew 27:39-40)

The real heartbreak that his mother, Mary, and his friends experienced as they watched this happen in horror.

The real moment when he gave up his spirit and died. (Matthew 27:50)

The real moment when the sky turned black, the earth shook, and the curtain in the temple tore in two. (Matthew 27:51-54)

The real moment when he was taken off the cross, and those who had given their all to follow him were without hope.

The real moment when the tomb was sealed with a huge stone and guarded with soldiers. (Matthew 27:57-61)

And the real moment when the women found the tomb empty, and an agel spoke to them, telling them that Jesus was not there, but he was alive. (Matthew 28:1-10)

These moments really happened, and I’m afraid that we’ve become numb to these amazing moments. I’m afraid that I’ve become numb.

Believing this doesn’t cost me much in the small town I live in. It really doesn’t cost us much at all in our country. Maybe it costs us a friend here or there, or a status, or an invite to a party or dinner, but it really doesn’t cost us anything of value.

I think about the churches bombed in Egypt last Sunday. The fact that believing the truth that Jesus really did walk out of the grave, and He’s alive now cost them their lives.

I think about the Christians in Syria who are meeting in the rubble of a church building that once stood. Those brave followers of Jesus believe that taking the Lord’s Supper together is worth the risk of losing their lives.

I think about friends all around the world, who are lonely and deal with rejection on a daily basis, but still go out to the same men, women and children every day and love them like Christ loves them.

Shouldn’t our faith cost us something? We’re told in scripture we are to die to self right? The words that Jesus said to Peter, Andrew, James and John and the rest of his followers, “Follow me” are the same words he says to us today. And that “Follow me” is not just a churchy, car decal phrase. It’s a life style command. It’s you give us everything for me.

Follow me because I am worth it. Jesus promises us this. And y’all, we see He’s so worth it because of this Easter weekend. Jesus willingly gave up his spirit, his life, for me, you and every person that walks this earth. He did this so that we could be made right with God again, and experience peace with God.

I’m writing to remind myself of this today. On this Good Friday, may we set our hearts on the cross. May we set our hearts on what happened next too though. The empty tomb. The message of the angel to GO and TELL the good news of Jesus.

The Easter story is a story of so many amazing promises coming true, but it’s also a challenge for us to GO and TELL. God has always been a sending God. Just as the women were sent to tell the disciples that early Sunday morning, and then the command for all to go and tell, it’s still a command that we are to follow even today.

Yes, even today as you get groceries in Walmart for this weekend.

Even today as you pick up your kids from school.

Even today as you go to that baseball/softball game.

Even today as you finish up your work week.

Even today as you sit around your dinner table and beg your kids to finish their food.

Even today may we GO and TELL the real events, the life-changing story of Jesus.


Laura Ashley Harper is an Andalusia native and the author of the blog, ‘This Side of the Pond.’