A recent conversation about the timing of things sent me on a search to gain further understanding. I discovered a thorough discussion of the Hebrew calendar, how it came about and how it fits in our modern world. The aforementioned conversation was about the timing of Easter. Where we live, “Fair Week” falls on the first of April every year and along with it Spring Break for all the county schools. Someone asked if the County Fair was set to correspond with Easter, since it often falls that way.
The answer, of course, is that Easter moves around a bit — Yuma County Fair doesn’t — based on (what else?) a Christianized interpretation of the Jewish calendar. I won’t get into the nuances of why the Christian celebration of Easter doesn’t coincide with Passover this year (you’re welcome!), but I want to take a moment at the outset of this Holy Week to speak to those of you who follow Jesus.
In a statement: “Don’t over-schedule and under-enjoy!"
The proverbial “Are we there yet?” question has become the time-honored tradition of families who journey down the highway to visit grandma or Yellowstone or Disney World. Little ones, tired of being strapped in to legalized confinement, want off the road and onto the playground…or the bathroom. The tragedy is that we adults can be just as guilty of shutting out the journey in hopes of quick arrival at the destination. Once there, we rapidly bore and are ready to set off again to some other joyful place that will last but a few thousand milliseconds.
This week, our journey is toward a cross and an empty tomb. Will we miss the scent of citrus blossoms (at least where I live) and the warmth of spring air along the way? More importantly, will we miss the opportunity to daily reflect on the harsh reality of Jesus’ journey those last few days before he gave himself to be served up as the sacrifice for our sins — MY sins? Will we fail to take our eyes off the empty tomb (and the big party) on Sunday, long enough to really notice the highway from here to there?
Going back to that Jewish calendar is going back to a reminder that, since humankind’s earliest history, the observation of times and seasons was intended to get our focus off the end of the road and onto the view...and the personal reflection...and the people...along the way. Will you spoil your Easter week by seeing how many busy things you can cram into your schedule (another way we avoid the experience of the journey)? Or will you stop for a series of holy moments with a heart-cry: “Lord, change me. As I reflect on Jesus and his journey, teach me to notice you in my journey. Forgive me for all the times I wanted to cut to the chase, get there fast and hurry off to another mindless destination.”
Our church, Stone Ridge Church in Yuma, Arizona, has a variety of open opportunities for you to pause and reflect this Easter weekend. I invite you to join us as we celebrate “Bridge To Redemption.” It’s what Easter is all about! Oh, and don’t travel alone…the people you love can come with you and help make the journey that much more special.