Last weekend my wife and I stopped by a store in New London to pick up a couple of Easter cards to mail to family members that we won't see this week. It should not have surprised me as it did, but the selection of cards on the rack reflects just how far off base the culture around us has landed when it comes to "getting" what this Sunday is about. Of course I expected to have to steer past all the bunny-and-chocolate cards, but even the ones that were flagged as "religious" were full of sentiments about springtime and messages along the lines of "you're special", with hardly even a nod to the One who died in our place and rose again.
I suppose it's a good reminder that in our own hearts we need to be very intentional about focusing in on the real message of Easter, because otherwise it can get diluted in the mumbo-jumbo that we see and hear around us. It's not about cute bunnies, or fluffy chicks, or baskets of candy, or emerging flowers with the turning of the seasons, or new clothes, or decorated eggs, or the spiral ham and hashbrown casserole that will be on the table for Sunday lunch. (Okay, so maybe the hashbrown casserole is only a Dean tradition.) Whatever traditions we may bring into our celebration each year, let's take care that they don't distract us from the bedrock of our faith:
the historical and lasting truth that
through the cross and the empty tomb
our Savior and Lord
once and for all
conquered sin and death,
and in Him we live!
If you haven't yet this week reread the biblical account of the days and hours leading up to Jesus' willing sacrifice for us, pick out any of the gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John), turn to the last few chapters, and with a heart of gratitude be reminded what this week is all about.