The Other Side of Easter

For many years a couple of my friends would take the week after Easter off. We would go to a state park, rent a cabin, play golf, eat meat, and talk theology late into the night. I’ve lost track of how many years…fifteen or so. As the years went by, we went to bed earlier, got up later, and every once in awhile came up with a new story that had not been told. Mostly we listened to the same stories year after year.

This year the trip won’t happen as it has in the past. This year we lost one of those friends, Pastor Larry Keene, to pancreatic cancer. Think “George Carlin” of Lutheran pastors. We’re going to miss everything about him but nothing more than his wit, his wisdom and his laughter.

So this year the trip won’t happen as it has in the past. This year the other side of Easter will feel different.

I have noticed something over the past couple of years. Time has turned around. It feels like just yesterday I thought about life stretching off into the future. I had plenty of time to do what needed to be done. But now, more and more, it feels like I’m living life “from” the future. I’m looking backwards from the future and there is only so much more time.

A few months ago I would have told you that this twisting of time has brought a new urgency to life. Today I’m realizing that it is merely a different kind of urgency. Today I have a greater urgency to savor time, a greater urgency to be quiet (which is hard for me to do). I have far less patience for some things and far greater patience for others.

I see the faithful saints in my congregation with different eyes today. They have walked where I’m heading. They have been there. I’m realizing how much courage it takes to live life as it comes. How hard to hold on to love when so much is lost along the way.

I plan to spend most of next week by myself. I’ll listen to the saints through the books I’ll bring with me. I’ll play golf with whoever shows up at the first tee when I do. I’ll go to bed early and wake when I’m ready. I’ll think much about Larry and the other guys who have touched my life. And, when I get back from a week of reflecting on the other side of Easter, I’ll start my Monday morning with a devotion.

God bless you all through this Easter season. May the wonder of the resurrection fill you with joy, with gratitude, with purpose, and with hope.

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12 Responses to “The Other Side of Easter”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    A blessed Easter and week after for you!

  2. Kerry, Allie, Jonathan and Steve Says:

    Much love to you, Pastor K.

    Our entire family loves you, as it soes Faith.

  3. Steve Says:

    I’m sorry for your loss. I too have been blessed to have met with a group of college friends and their families annually for going on 30 years now. Three years ago I missed the gathering and a week after it found that one of my fellow founding members passed away. His widow and their daughters have continued to show up. It’s a different gathering now but it’s still a gathering. I’ve watched as my father’s fishing group has slowly dismembered due to death and illness and now feel the urgency to not miss any more of my annual gatherings. I wish you God’s peace and healing during this next week.

  4. Carl White Says:

    I said to my self “He gets it”

  5. Glenn See Says:

    Thanks again for another great story of life on earth!
    Enjoy your time of reflection and do not stress over hooking the ball…Tee ’em high and let ’em fly….

  6. Bill Schwertlich Says:

    Yes, I’ll miss Larry too, though I did not know him as you did. Good for you for taking time for yourself in quiet solitude. I’ll pray for blessings. — Bill S.

  7. Anonymous Says:

    What a great devotional for Easter! As the years pass by, I find myself speculating on how few are left and how fast they are flying by. We all need to take “time off” for prayer and reflection and to thnk God for all the blessings he has graciously bestowed on us!

  8. Anonymous Says:

    I really enjoy your devotions, this one is a great one. God Bless. When some one dies it really makes you think about “one day at a time” and enjoy those around you. Life goes on, just changes it! Happy Easter to you all!

  9. Kathy Says:

    Thank you, Pastor, for this wonderful Easter devotional and its thoughtful and contemplative words. I identify with what you have shared. May Easter be for you, Kelley and your family what you have wished for all of us who receive the gifts and blessings of your writings. I hope next week will provide you with rest, relaxation, rejuvenation, and fun. Enjoy!

  10. Joyce Shorek Says:

    I will be waiting on the other side of Easter for your devotions and listening to your sermons on Vimeo. Sorry to hear of the loss of your dear friend. Wishing you and your family a Happy Easter.

  11. Joyce Says:

    I just finished listening to your Easter Sermon on Vimeo. 🙂

  12. Erin Schroeder Says:

    I was actually confirmed by Pastor Keene at Messiah. You’re description of him as the George Carlin of pastors is pretty spot on. He was definielty a colorful character but was a very good pastor and (according to my mom) the best counselor/therapist she’s ever had. He will be missed.

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