What does one say on the day after Easter? The sanctuary is very quiet now, as opposed to yesterday morning when the house was packed. You can still see some bulletins scattered in the pews or inside a hymnal. And if you look closely you can spot the odd palm tucked away somewhere. The Confirmation Class banners still hang, proclaiming their colorful messages. And I can still hear the many voices singing the traditional Easter hymns—or shall I say, “feel” the voices. Easter worship was powerful yesterday, and it would have been hard not to feel upbeat and excited. This morning, the questions lingers: “now what?” My response may surprise you.
Years ago a British expedition set off on a safari in an unnamed jungle in Africa. The terrain was too rough for pack animals, so they hired local natives to carry the gear on their backs. The Brits were in a hurry, and pushed the group to cover as much ground as possible from dawn to dusk. Finally, after about a week of this, the British leader got out of his tent in the morning only to find all of the natives sitting silently in a row on the ground. He told the native translator to order them to get up and get going, but the men didn’t move. The translator turned to the commander and said, “They cannot work today, sir. They are waiting for their spirits to catch up with their bodies.”
Lent and Holy Week offer many different kinds of opportunities to worship—drama, personal testimony, special music, and so forth. Interesting–I have seldom had an “aha” spiritual experience in worship. Those seem to come later, when and where I least expect them. But I’ve noticed a pattern. If I haven’t been worshiping, reading and reflecting, or taking time for personal prayer, the “aha experiences” seem to mysteriously dry up. Worship helps me to break open the crust of my heart and plant sacred seeds. The rest takes much more time.
And so it’s appropriate that today be a slow day, waiting for my spirit to catch up to my body. Easter is a celebration of something we proclaim as essential and life-giving. But the essence of what I’m celebrating needs time to sink in. So in response to my earlier question “Now what?” my answer is—“Today, not much.” And yet, this might be the most important part.
Your fellow traveler,