The first Easter was held at home! That is what John tells us in his Gospel: “When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews….”
Some of us will be in church this Easter Sunday, singing quietly behind our masks, keeping our distance from each other. Most of us won’t. And maybe, for the second year in a row this will remind us what Easter is really about. I like that phrase: “really about“; it has a sense of superiority about it as we talk about Christmas – we know what it’s really about. And we forget that we took over a pagan festival and Christianised it. The same is true with Easter – it was a pagan festival and we Christianised it.
But I’m not talking about origins, I’m talking about the Christian celebration of Jesus being raised from the dead, having paid the penalty for our sins. Raised for our salvation, so that as we commit our lives to him we may know spiritual resurrection now and so that we may be part of the resurrection of the dead when He returns.
We don’t need to be in church buildings for that. We can sing all the Easter songs any time of the year, because, as Peter tells us, “Christ … suffered for sins once for all … in order to bring you to God” (1 Peter 3: 18). It was once! For always! He is alive forever – all year long. So we can always sing about the resurrection of Jesus, just as they did in the early church.
We can know the reality of his suffering, because our sins are forgiven. That is why, as Christians, we can have clear consciences.
We can know God as our Father, because Jesus suffered to bring us to God. He didn’t suffer to bring us to church.
We can know! In our homes – locked in for fear of the virus – we can know the risen Jesus. John goes on to tell us that even though the doors were locked Jesus still met with his disciples. We don’t have to be in a particular building to meet with Jesus. We can meet him anywhere. Luke tells us about two friends who were walking home to Emmaus and they met Jesus – outside, on a walk.
The doors may be locked, we may be out for a walk. All four gospels begin that first Easter Sunday in a cemetery. Even there Jesus appears to his followers.
However you are spending Easter Sunday this year remember what it’s really about – Jesus suffering so that you (even you) could experience your sins forgiven and find that you have been brought to God. And celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ. He died for you and for me. All we need to do is ask him to take our sins, forgive us, and come into our lives. Even in your own home!