by Joe Alain

The Day After Easter
Joe Alain
Acts 5:27-32; Revelation 1:4-8

What happened to Easter? Just last week, stores were stocked full of ''Peeps,'' ''Reese's Peanut Butter Eggs,'' and chocolate bunnies; Easter dresses were paraded in newspaper inserts, churches were full, and Charleston Heston made his annual appearance on TV, along with an assortment of specials on the life of Jesus. But now hardly a trace of Easter remains. And yet, Easter isn't over, it's just begun!

Easter is what gives us hope, it's what keeps us going, it declares that we are forgiven, it's what makes our new citizenship in God's kingdom possible. What John says is true (Rev. 1:4-8). Easter means we're loved, we're freed from our sins, and God has made us a people, a kingdom, ''priests to serve'' our God and our Father (Rev. 1:5-6). Our world puts Easter in a nice colorful and comfortable box (somewhat like a box of chocolates), and views Easter with nice friendly Easter bunnies and vibrant Spring flowers. But Easter cannot be contained in a box, it's not a weekend or even a season, Easter means Jesus is alive, the powers of death have been conquered, and God's people are now empowered to share God's story, they are His witnesses proclaiming the forgiveness of sins through repentance, turning to God. Easter means that we give witness of the reality of the one ''who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty'' (Rev. 1:8).

However, if you take the day after Easter very seriously, you might get into some trouble as did the early disciples in our first reading from Acts 5:27-32. The disciples had previously been instructed (commanded is a better word) ''not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus'' (4:18). But to Peter's credit, even then he wasn't making any promises, seemingly laying the groundwork for further trouble with the authorities, saying, ''how can we not speak about what we have seen and heard!'' (4:20).

Not deterred by this troubling development, the church set ...

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