Every Easter comes on the heals of St. Patrick’s Day superstore decor and with the fanfare of family celebration. Sometimes I wonder if it’s just an excuse to celebrate winter’s decline and party like the Energizer Bunny. Easter marks for too many a holiday vacation, and less of a holiday vocation.
But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. —1 Corinthians 15:13-14
Vocation is a pretty important word in Lutheranism. The term marks one’s duty not primarily grounded in a career (although it can include such) but in who we are within The Church, The Family, and The Citizenry. These three consist of all that is vocation, but matter very little, actually not at all, if Christ is not raised from the dead. Easter is Christ’s Holy Day of Resurrection; not merely a federally recognized holiday, that other biannually forced family get-together since Christmas, or a day where creepy Easter bunny mascots make kids cry. What we make of Easter matters not one bit, since what it’s actually about matters above all else.
What is Easter all about? The Resurrection. Period. Full stop.
Should you take the day off? Yes. Should you be with your family? Of course, suck-it-up! Should you subject your children to pictures with an 8 foot tall rabbit (counting the ears)? If you enjoy crying children, sure. But don’t let you or your family forget what Easter is all about. St. Paul is very adamant, if Christ isn’t raised from the dead then pastors are useless liars, you’ve been fooled, and any faith you have in Christ is hogwash. But Christ is raised from the dead, and pastors who faithfully preach this should have hearers faithfully believe Jesus. To faithfully trust in Christ is to live accordingly—vocationally. “If the dead are not raised, ‘Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die (1 Corinthians 15:32b).’” Thankfully Christ is risen and the fruit of faith, vocation, is not a vain endeavor but a holy mandate for God’s holy people.
A final fascinating revelation comes with this Day of Resurrection—as Christ is raised, so too do all who die in Christ have the promise of a resurrection to eternal life. Baptism is a gift sealed with the promise of Christ’s resurrection (Romans 6). When you recall the reasons to celebrate Easter this year, more than anything else I pray you remember who you are in Christ. You are a child of God, clothed in Christ’s righteousness, whose vocation is nestled in the one True Faith established by Christ’s own crucifixion to death and the resurrection to new life.
Isn’t forgiveness of sins and eternal life a far better reason to celebrate? Immensely! (Plus, no creepy bunnies that lay eggs, so that’s a bonus.)