For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again. So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come. The old has gone, the new is here!
2 Corinthians 5:14-17
No, I'm not a day late (or, I hope, a dollar short). I realize that most people, Christian and non-Christian alike, think that Easter is over. But, for millions of Christians throughout the world and throughout history, Easter is not limited to a single day. Rather, it is a season in the Christian year (sometimes called the church year or the liturgical year). The season of Easter, referred to as Eastertide, is a fifty-day time period that begins on Easter Sunday and ends on the Saturday before Pentecost. So, from this perspective, it's perfectly appropriate to offer a greeting of "Happy Easter."
Yet, my opening salutation isn't just about the Christian season of Eastertide. It is also motivated by the fact that the resurrection of Jesus, celebrated especially on one day of the year, matters profoundly every single day of our lives. In a way, everday ought to be Easter, a day to celebrate and to live in light of the resurrection.
You see this perspective in 2 Corinthians 5:14-17. Because of the death and resurrection of Christ, the Apostle Paul sees everything from a new perspective. He no longer sees people, Christ, and life itself "from a worldly point of view" (5:16). Thus, Paul exclaims, "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come. The old has gone, the new is here!" (5:17).
Notice, the new isn't something to be celebrated one Sunday a year. In fact, it's not something to be celebrated only on Sunday, as Christians gather as the body of Christ. Rather, it is something that changes life right down to the core. The resurrection is the first, definitive sign that the new creation is coming and, in some ways, has already come. Thus, every day is–or should be, at any rate–a day to celebrate and live into the resurrection.
So, once again, I offer you the familiar greeting, "Happy Easter!" More profoundly, however, I greet you with the classic Easter affirmation that is true today every bit as much as it was yesterday: Christ is risen! He is risen, indeed!
QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: Do you tend to think of the resurrection of Jesus as something that touches your whole life, or as something to be celebrated on Easter and perhaps at other times, but mainly in church? How might you live differently today in light of the fact that Christ is risen?
Heart and voice to Heaven raise,
Sing to God a hymn of gladness,
Sing to God a hymn of praise;
He who on the cross a ransom
For the world’s salvation bled,
Jesus Christ the King of glory
Now is risen from the dead.
Now the iron bars are broken,
Christ from death to life is born,
Glorious life, and life immortal
On this holy Easter morn:
Christ has triumphed, and we conquer
By His mighty enterprise,
We with Him to life eternal
By His resurrection rise.
Christ is risen, Christ the firstfruits
Of the holy harvest field,
Which will all its full abundance,
At His glorious advent, yield;
Then the golden ears of harvest
Will before His presence wave,
Rising in His sunshine joyous,
From the furrow of the grave.
Christ is risen; we are risen!
Shed upon us heavenly grace,
Rain and dew and gleams of glory
From the brightness of Thy face,
That we, Lord, with hearts in Heaven
Here on earth may fruitful be,
And by angel hands be gathered,
And be ever safe with Thee.
Glory be to God above!
Hallelujah, to the Savior,
Fount of life and source of love;
Hallelujah, to the Spirit
Let our high ascriptions be;
Hallelujah, now and ever,
To the blessèd Trinity.
"Hallelujah! Christ Is Risen" by Christopher Wordsworth, 1862. Public domain.
P.S. from Mark: If you are looking for more information about the season of Easter, let me encourage you to check out what I have written on my blog: Introduction to Eastertide, the Season of Easter.