This Sunday, April 19, is the Second Sunday of Easter on the liturgical calendar, and I would have found that peculiar as a child when we didn’t follow such calendars and Easter was a one-day event. Year after year we drove deep down into Southeast Texas to spend the holiday with my grandparents, culminating on Easter Sunday with church and lunch and the egg hunt. But then we’d get in the car and make the six-hour drive home, leaving Easter in the rearview mirror. Monday morning we’d be back in school with our focus on closing out the term and getting ready for summer.
For most of my adult life I haven’t given much thought to this Second Sunday of Easter after walking through the 40 days of Lent with all its shadowy contemplation and then the bright joy of Easter with all the pageantry we Baptists can muster. Normally, a week later I’d be soaking up the sunshine of spring, but this year Easter has been followed by thunderstorms and freeze warnings, and from the county courthouse to the White House we’re told to continue isolating in place. More than ever, it feels like we have unfinished business. More than ever, we need a Second Sunday of Easter.
The truth is that Easter never ends. We mark it on the calendar, observe it and then focus on other things throughout the liturgical year, but we worship a risen Lord, and that puts us in a perpetual Easter season. Even when we are isolated, as we read that the disciples were after the resurrection, we are in the place of Easter.
The challenge for us in these days is to make our place of isolation a place of Easter. Perhaps while viewing the livestream of the service, close your eyes every now and then and imagine yourself sitting in the pews, shoulder to shoulder with familiar brothers and sisters in Christ. But then imagine that the Christ of Easter is in the room with us as you hear these words from the Psalm: “I keep the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.”