Life in the Aftermath: A Post Lenten Reflection

Easter has come and gone. The 40 days of Lent are behind us. Our Lenten devotions and fasts have come to an end. So now what do we do?

In my experience, the Lenten season, like the Christmas season, is a time of consistent spiritual devotion. The 40 days that mark the season of Lent on the Christian calendar are when I tend to be on my “A-game.” The significance of the mighty cross, and the celebration of Ash Wednesday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Resurrection Sunday, all contribute to the anticipation of the season. For ministers and laity alike, Lent is a time of great devotion and sacrifice, all with the intention of drawing nearer to Christ. It is a beautiful time.

The Monday after Easter, the mundane routine of “normal” life returns. Ministers take a sigh of relief from the countless hours spent preparing for the various services, and church goers rejoice (secretly of course) at the fact that practices for the cantatas are finished and church is once again at most a two-day weekly commitment. Unfortunately, the significance of the Lenten season is lost in the ebb and flow of the ordinary. The impact of the season may last for a few days or even a week after Resurrection Sunday, but inevitably it is forgotten as life whisks away its tenets once again. Like a student who has gone to camp and returned, the “camp high” (or in this case, “Lenten High”) rapidly disseminates. For me, this has been the case every year in which I have embraced the significance of the Lenten season. This year, however, I find myself yearning for a change. Why must I allow the yearly routine to habituate itself any longer? 

What if those who witnessed the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus would have continued living the “normal” life? What if the early believers would have given up? What if over time they forgot the significance of what had just occurred? Would Christianity as we know it today have survived, or would it have merely become a blip in history? Thankfully, we will never have to worry about the “What if’s?”. The many faithful men and women who have come before us assisted in preserving and developing our faith. We are not in jeopardy of losing our “religion” to the great black hole of the mundane.

Or are we?

I am amazed by the new paradigm… Once Lent is over, not only do we resume the unhealthy habit that we nixed for 40 days, we back track into our routines. We, the 21st century contemporary Christians, have created a paradigm of apathy. The 40 days of Lent were fun, we grew a lot, and we attended more church functions than usual.

The post-Easter daze flirts dangerously close with apathy. It is as if we require a specific reason (or season) to be on our spiritual A-game. We need a Christian calendar to tell us when to celebrate Christ. But why? Why is it that I am the most “spiritual” when I know a major event in the history of Christianity is nearing? Every year, I come out of a Christian holiday feeling refreshed. I am refreshed so much that I allow that feeling to dwindle down to nothing. I become complacent once again. Routine takes control. Eventually when the seasons begin to change and the next major event on the Christian calendar draws near, I then am reminded, “Oh yea, maybe it is time for me to get prepared to bring my A-game.”

This year, however, I desire to see the hypothetical Easter tryptophan to wear off. I want to live daily with the same anticipation that the Lenten season brings. The past two days, I have been captivated by the words written by Joel Houston of Hillsong United:

The skies lay low where You are
On the earth You rest Your feet
Yet the hands that cradle the stars
Are the hands that bled for me

In a moment of glorious surrender
You were broken for all the world to see
Lifted out of the ashes
I am found in the aftermath

Freedom found in Your scars
In Your grace my life redeemed
For You chose to take the sinner’s crown
As You placed Your crown on me

In that moment of glorious surrender
Was the moment You broke the chains in me
Lifted out of the ashes
I am found in the aftermath

And in that moment You opened up the heavens
To the broken the beggar and the thief
Lifted out of the wreckage
I find hope in the aftermath

And I know that You’re with me
Yes I know that You’re with me here
And I know Your love will light the way

Now all I have I count it all as loss
But to know You and to carry the cross
Knowing I’m found
In the light of the aftermath
Hillsong United – “Aftermath”

 

Friends, we are living in the aftermath of the cross. We are living in the aftermath of the greatest sacrifice ever made. Because of Christ’s death on the cross some 2000 years ago we have been made alive. Immanuel. God is with us. It is for this very reason that we can and must celebrate Christ daily. “We are found in the aftermath.” Therefore, rejoice always in Christ; “in and out of season.”

χάρις ὑμῖν καὶ εἰρήνη (Grace and peace to you) – Michael

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One comment

  1. We must all learn continuity of faith beacause one day we will have no “aftermath”, and all we will have is our own eternity. The choice is ours. God granted us “free will”. Wise words, Michael…brilliant refelctions ! Thank you !

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