Post-Easter

Readings for this week April 29 – May 3
Click here for a pdf of this week’s readings

Day 1 – The Importance of the Resurrection

Silence, Stillness and Centering before God (2 minutes)

Scripture Reading – 1 Corinthians 15:12-19

If there is no resurrection, then the overwhelming majority of lives lived have been lives lived in vain and in irredeemable pain. If there is no resurrection, and the here and now is all there is, then maybe God’s desire that ‘none should perish’ is just a lie or, at best, the wishful thinking of an ineffectual, deluded fool. If there is no resurrection, then there is no hope for parents to be reunited with children gone too soon, no fulfilment of other lives cut horribly short, no chance for wrongs to be righted, no justice for anyone other than those with money and power to buy comfort and protection here and now. If there is no resurrection, then there is no judgement other than the judgement meted out in this life, in which case most people have been judged harshly and condemned unjustly and have only experienced justice without mercy which is not justice.

If there is no resurrection, then God is a liar and a cheat whose promises are worth nothing and who cannot be believed in for anything – no eternal life, no new creation, no promise of all things put right under the sovereign lordship of the Creator God. For if there is no resurrection, then all that we believe is founded upon a lie, and all that we preach, speak, act and live is founded upon the same lie. The resurrection is promise, is hope, the revelation of the heart of God’s plan for the whole of creation. It is the other side to the crucifixion, his character revealed and promised to us. The resurrection has changed everything; it is the doorway through which all that God wants to do in us and by us can now be accomplished.

Questions to Consider
How would your life be different without the reality of the resurrection? How does the resurrection play out in your daily life?

Prayer
Sovereign Lord, thank you for the promise of the resurrection. Thank you that you are a God of promise, offering hope and life for all people. Amen.

Conclude with Silence (2 minutes)


Day 2 – Transformed Disciples

Silence, Stillness and Centering before God (2 minutes)

Scripture Reading – Luke 24:36-40

The death of Jesus on Calvary was also the death of the type of kingdom the disciples had been chasing after. Wanting Jesus to establish places of importance for them; arguing over which of them was the greatest; seeking to use their proximity to Jesus for their own benefit – this was the kingdom they knew, and it was only slowly and painfully that they began to realise that what Jesus was preaching and performing was something vastly different. Before the crucifixion and resurrection the disciples bickered, squabbled and often completely missed the point as they chased the earthly honours of an earthly kingdom. The death of Jesus was also the death of the idea of this human kingdom; resurrected in its place was (finally) a true understanding of the kingdom of God, and their place in it.

Before Easter, it was largely about squabbles and misunderstandings. After Easter, and especially after Pentecost, the disciples were radically transformed. Their faith was bold, courageous and they were unafraid to proclaim the good news of their risen Lord and master, regardless of the consequences. From a faith that refused even to witness the sacrifice of Jesus, they were now prepared to sacrifice their lives in his name, for his cause. The group of frightened followers that Jesus encountered hiding in a locked room on Easter evening had, through his subsequent leading and teaching, been transformed into a group of followers that would offer an extraordinary, fearless witness to the world.

Questions to Consider
What are the differences between the “pre-Easter” you and the “post-Easter” you? How has this change in you happened?

Prayer
Lord God, thank you for making me more than I could ever be on my own, and for giving me a purpose and a place in your kingdom plan. Amen.

Conclude with Silence (2 minutes)


Day 3 – Back to Normal?

Silence, Stillness and Centering before God (2 minutes)

Scripture Reading – Romans 8:18

We have journeyed through Lent. We have celebrated Easter, passing through the sorrow of Good Friday, into the silence and death of Holy Saturday, and out the other side into the resurrection life we celebrate on Easter Sunday. We have followed Jesus through his passion, death and resurrection, finishing on the spiritual “high” of the new life and relationship that his sacrifice has brought us. And now we are back in our normal, everyday world. The holiday is over, our jobs and schools and families and relationships await us, the same as they always were. We have experienced grace and mercy and love; life now continues the same as usual. Was Easter real? Was what we celebrated and thanked God for real? Is the power of God, the power that raised Jesus from the dead, really evident in our lives and able to empower and transform them – it is really for us?

The answer is yes, most definitely yes, but we will still experience both sides of the reality of Easter. The joy and exultation of Easter Sunday will be felt and experienced in the cries of new-born babies, the celebration of marriages and anniversaries and birthdays, the happiness of time spent with family and friends. Yet intermixed with these times will be the heartache of many Good Fridays as the reality of illness and death and hardship intervene in our lives. As followers of Jesus, living in the power of his Spirit, we need to remember that all dark Good Fridays ultimately lead to joyful Easter mornings, if we will but cling to Christ, and in faith walk the path that he guides us down. The everyday world is the place of grace.

Question to Consider
What “little resurrections” have you experienced in your life lately?

Prayer
Loving Father, be with me in the deaths and resurrections of my life; give me strength and courage to continue and give me love to share. Amen.

Conclude with Silence (2 minutes)


Day 4 – Engaged Anticipation

Silence, Stillness and Centering before God (2 minutes)

Scripture Reading – 2 Timothy 1:6-12

Too often we embrace the fear and trembling the disciples experienced in the terror of those couple of days without Jesus. We see this most obviously in followers that hide from the world around them, fearfully raise barriers against those who are different, and grow increasingly angry and embittered. Though there is much in the world that is broken and in need of God’s loving rebuke and repair, you would never know from the way some people hide from and bemoan their position that they serve a God who has conquered death and by his Spirit is making all things new. As their anger and resentment grows, so does their irrelevance.

But people living in the post-Easter power of God will live lives of constant anticipation. They will believe that God is engaged in this world – his world – and that the way he wants to work is through them and the obedient openness of ordinary lives lived for him. They will take a direct interest in their neighbourhoods and communities, their cities and their nation, their world and their planet. And they will do this because they know that the good news of the risen Lord Jesus Christ is exactly what this fallen, broken world needs. They will be aware of the challenges ahead, but will be even more aware of the God who has gone ahead of them and who calls them to follow him into the broken places and spaces of this world with his message of grace and love. These newly energised and empowered disciples believe that the best is yet to come because God is out ahead of them, calling them on into a dynamic future.

Questions to Consider
What is it that most excites you about what God is doing in and around your life? What do you most look forward to in God’s future for you?

Prayer
Almighty Father, lead me on into the amazing, world-changing future you are calling your people into. May I be loyal and faithful in all I do. Amen.

Conclude with Silence (2 minutes)


Day 5 – The Transforming Power of the Spirit

Silence, Stillness and Centering before God (2 minutes)

Scripture Reading – Acts 2:1-4

The lost, frightened, uncertain disciples were the same disciples that had been promised they would receive power when the Holy Spirit came upon them. And now, in the upper room, that promise was coming true – and it needed to if these bewildered followers of Jesus were to have any chance of actually becoming God’s empowered, transformed, world-changing people. And this is equally true for us today as well.

Some of the creative power of God himself comes from heaven to earth and does its work here – and does it through us. The aim is to transform earth through the power of heaven, beginning with the hearts and lives of the followers of Jesus in community – the Spirit comes to unite, not divide. The Spirit comes to reveal who we are in Christ, moulding us, changing us, filling us with power, making us anew. And then, filled with God’s Spirit, the community of Jesus is to begin the task of transforming the earth and all that is in it. This scene in the upper room at Pentecost was the catalyst for all that has followed throughout the rest of history up to us today, and for what will happen on into the future too: the Holy Spirit is given to the followers of Jesus, God’s power comes upon them, and suddenly all things are possible. Scared, uncertain, unequipped people are transformed into faith-full people sharing the good news of Jesus, healing, prophesying, spreading the message of God’s love, in ways they never believed could be possible for them, under the power and guidance of the Holy Spirit. And it is this same Spirit that is with and in us today.

Questions to Consider
How is the Holy Spirit an active presence in your life? What would be different without his influence and input in what you do?

Prayer
Heavenly Father, thank you for the gift of your spirit. Please fill me again with your Holy Spirit and guide me in my day/week ahead. Amen.

Conclude with Silence (2 minutes)