In the last 40 days we have taken the time to reflect, be solemn, and come to celebrate the sacrifice God made on the behalf of our humanity. He was mocked, beaten, humiliated, and tormented. He suffered more than what a body could bear. His heart was broken on behalf of mankind when He took our sin, conquered death. and came out from the grave.
We have used illustrations, videos, object lessons, analogies, stories, games, devotions, sermons, and even an “outreach” to make our point. Yesterday, Easter, was the epitome of the celebration.
Today is Monday.
In the past I have wrapped much stock in the “holy day” celebrations in my ache to help students grow closer to the Lord. Admittedly, I did it this year as well. I had all of these great ideas, and honestly, some worked and some bombed. Even in my own home yesterday’s church service had different impacts on each of my three kids. One saw it as another day in their journey with Jesus, one was terribly bored, and one was deeply convicted by what they heard.
We have all heard more than once that we should celebrate Jesus everyday, not just on Christmas and Easter. I believe we know the Holy Spirit is always working, and He is moving hearts beyond Christmas and Easter. Yet, somehow the “day after” can feel like a let down.
It hit me yesterday when a couple of Middle School boys I know posted jokes to Instagram about Easter falling on 4/20. (A “day” for getting high.) I was like, “Have they been listening at ALL?”
Here are my thoughts on the morning after the holiday:
You CAN’T MAKE someone want Jesus.
The Bible talks on more than one occasion about how a “veil” is over the hearts of many. I have witnessed it in loved ones and students who have heard the Gospel over and over and over and over and over and still “don’t get it.” In the end, the decision of whether or not to respond to Jesus is an individual one.
We can use “gimmicks,” but not everyone will respond.
I am not saying we shouldn’t be creative. Last week I was talking with two friends who admitted they came to youth group growing up because there were games and food. Ironically, the focus on these were the very thing that made me want to stay away. I wanted to go deeper. Recognize we have different students, with different needs, who learn differently.
Sometimes our great plans flop:
I have learned this particular Easter that my best “laid plans” do not always strike a chord. I tried a couple of things that worked in the past and didn’t this time. I tried some new stuff that made students just stare. Even if it did “great” I was reminded it wasn’t about me anyway. In addition, I was taught just because it flops for “most” doesn’t mean one didn’t walk away affected and that matters.
Recently, my son came home from youth group and was talking to me about a friend of his. He said, “At first tonight when he said he didn’t know much about Easter I thought he was joking. I mean he has grown up in this church. Then I realized he really didn’t know. I don’t think he’s ever listened before.”
Today we keep our eyes forward. We simply don’t know which day anyone will hear and respond. Remember this day is the one called for salvation.
How are you feeling the “day after?”