The church worldwide has celebrated Easter this last weekend. Easter is the culmination of the Christian calendar; coming at the end of Lent, it is the celebration which remembers the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Whilst Good Friday is dark, sombre and painful, Easter Sunday is joyful, celebratory and bright.
But I was struck this Easter how quickly we forget the pain of Good Friday, and focus solely on the resurrection of Jesus, and the joy that comes with it. Don’t get me wrong, celebrating the resurrection of Christ from the dead is an amazing, powerful thing, and something that we should make a point of doing.
But I’ve found that, more often than not, life feels more like Good Friday than Easter Day. Looking round our church on Sunday, I was struck by the fact that for everyone sitting there who was happy, there were probably two or three who were feeling lost, alone and helpless.
The truth is that, whilst Christ’s resurrection from the grave is amazing, and means death has been defeated, it doesn’t mean pain is removed. It is so important that we don’t get so caught up in the celebrations that we forget the fact that life still happens, and life still, for many people, is incredibly painful.
I don’t believe that is how God wants us to celebrate Easter, or to live out our lives with Him. Whilst we should rightly praise God and give Him huge thanks for the resurrection of His Son from the dead, and be joyful about that, we should also remember the pain of Good Friday. Rather than remembering the pain once a year, we need to be aware of people who constantly struggle with things throughout the year.
The two sides to Easter cannot be separated – we cannot have the resurrection without Good Friday, or vice versa. But we must be careful not to let the joy of Easter black out the pain of Good Friday. The two must be kept together under the vast, all-embracing umbrella of God’s grace.