There's a huge element of anticipation in the lead up to Easter. For those participating in Lent, the six weeks in between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday are spent focusing on Jesus' temptation in the wilderness. Once Holy Week begins, the mood of the season becomes more sombre and the focus shifts more so to Jesus' death on the cross. Easter Sunday, the day that we celebrate Jesus' resurrection, is often seen by those outside Christianity as the climatic "end" to the season. But to view it as such misses the point entirely, the resurrection is only the beginning. Even for some Christians, Easter Monday can unwittingly mark a return to normality. The "welcome disruption" that Easter brings is in an official secular sense over, but just as we welcomed Easter's ability to reinvigorate our faith for several weeks, we should also make the effort to ensure that the Easter message is an ongoing catalyst for our faith.
Below are some of the ways that we can ensure the Easter message has a continuing power and presence in our daily lives.
Re-read the Easter story
Jesus' resurrection and everything it represents is something for us to be grateful for and remember all year round, not just on one day a year. If you didn't devote enough time to reading and meditating on the Easter story during Lent, and even if you did, re-familiarising yourself with the Easter story will help you to sustain that edifying experience that Easter brings.
Keep Church in your schedule
During the Easter season, the church grows in numbers as lapsed Christians return to church those who don't identify as Christians at all come of their own accord or via the invitation of a friend or family member. Even for regular churchgoers, Easter is a time when we attend church more frequently due to the increased regularity of services. Just as the church grows during this time, so too can we can undergo continued spiritual growth by making sure that church remains a part of our routine.
Let your actions be inspired by the Easter story
Jesus' fasting and resistance of temptation in the wilderness inspires our Lenten fasting, praying and almsgiving, and in a similar way his action in the lead up to his death, his crucifixion and his resurrection should inspire our actions beyond Easter. Think about what you can learn about serving from Jesus' act of washing his disciples feet; Christ rose from the dead, think about how can you rise up and be counted as one of his followers today and how the concepts of mercy, compassion and forgiveness can influence your actions on a day-to-day basis.
Easter is a time of great hope and anticipation, so much so that everything in its wake can feel a bit flat, but we have plenty to be hopeful about. The cross and resurrection are both causes for great hope and the joy of Christ's resurrection isn't confined to a single day. As Pope Francis said on Holy Saturday: "May the Lord free us from this trap, from being Christians without hope, who live as if the Lord were not risen, as if our problems were the centre of our lives."