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“Is this where Easter lives?” The question came from a preschooler standing by the door, just outside the church sanctuary on Palm Sunday. The preschool teacher had told the group about Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem, and how He died on the cross for our sins. But she’d told them that the story wasn’t over yet and that next week they would be celebrating Easter, when Jesus was raised from the dead. The preschool girl was in awe of the voices coming from the sanctuary, united in praise to King Jesus. It’s only natural she would wonder, “Is Easter alive? And is it in here?”
Easter is a shared holiday in a way that differs from Christmas. At Christmas, we celebrate the first coming of Jesus and anticipate His return. At Easter, we celebrate Jesus’ resurrection and anticipate our own. That’s what makes Easter a shared holiday. Jesus’ resurrection is something that happened in the past that points to the future of all who belong to Him. Not only that, we get a foretaste of resurrection even now as we are spiritually “made alive” with Christ – raised from the dead in a spiritual sense, even as our outer bodies are wasting away. So Easter is about the glory of Jesus’ resurrection from the dead, and the power of this event – like a nuclear bomb sending ripples into all of creation – catches us up in the shockwave, raising us from our sin and death and promising bodily resurrection when Christ returns in the future.
“What should I have said to her?” the preschooler’s teacher asked me. “I didn’t know what to say.”
“Next time,” I replied, “you tell her, ‘Yes! This is where Easter lives.” The church is the body of Christ, raised from the dead and made alive with Him. We are His, and we are raised. The life that spills out from our worship and wonder is resurrection life. There is no other kind. Easter lives. There’s an empty tomb in Jerusalem and resurrected hearts all over the world.