Are You Going To Church on Easter?

Are You Going To Church on Easter?

empty-tombAs some of us think about Easter Sunday, I wonder if we are asking Jesus some questions about our own lives and what this celebration is all about?

Christ has risen, He has risen indeed.

church crowd

Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter Sunday; what is this all about?

Secret Church, candlelight services, sunrise services, eating lamb, ham, and lots of deviled eggs. Celebration abounds, life evaluation goes deep for some and for some it is just about having a new dress or a freshly cleaning suit of clothes along with pretty corsages and shiny shoes.

Easter Sunday, one of the most heavily attended church services of the year. Folding chairs in the aisles to accommodate the surge of guests that are expected. Carefully administrated plans for the parking lot attendants, greeters, alter call prayer teams and information cards. All designed to try to get some of the guests to come back next Sunday.

What is the focus of all of this busyness and planning? As I contemplate the celebration of Easter this year I am asking Jesus some questions. We had our annual Passover Seder. There were two homes where friends gathered underneath one invitation list. People sat together with us in our home. They were friends and family. Nothing fancy really. We got out our simple china and shared a wonderful Passover Seder Haggadah and a lamb meal together. But other than that, I am enjoying “simple” Easter this year as I ponder some things.

Last year was a cathartic Easter for me.  On Sunday morning our little poodle, Spencer, was killed. It brought to my mind one of the most vibrant examples of what it would have been like to have killed the lamb  for Passover and eaten it. this of course brought a very personal reflection on the life, death and resurrection of Jesus that I had ever experienced. (to read the story you can click here )

This year, I want to think, to pray, to ask Jesus “What would you do?” How would you celebrate? What would you be doing this year to celebrate the abuse, the hanging, the death and resurrection of your Savior? Would you have special planned events, web seminars, candlelight services? How would you have responded to the millions that would come out of their homes to attend the “once per year” celebration service to somehow satisfy their motivation to go to “church” at least for Easter?

tail in churchI was talking with some friends the other day about Easter church. They were discussing their plans for Sunday. A couple of them said they were not going to church on Easter. I remember one in particular who said, “I spent my whole childhood going to church because I thought I “had” to go. This year for Easter, I am not going to church because “I don’t have to.” Some other friends were going to spend special time with their families. Then there were those friends whose lives were so brutally busy with church life they couldn’t wait until Easter was over.

As I think about Jesus this year. I am asking Him, “What is your desire for me?” Does Jesus want me to go to church because it is the thing to do as a Christian? I thought about what many Sunday service topics on Easter would be. In my own experience, typically the entire service is designed to be “evangelistic.”

worship teamThere will be sermons on sin, sermons on forgiveness, sermons on The Cross. Some churches may have well thought out music, presentations, drama and other cleverly designed ways to present the gift of eternal life to those who may only darken the door of a church once this year. The main focus us usually to reach the “lost.” To be honest, most of those who will go to their infrequent church service already know the gospel. They are there because they have heard about Jesus gift but either have lost sight of it, or rejected it at one time or another but still think it is a good idea to give God some attention at least on this holiday.

But what about all of those who will not celebrate Easter in any way this year? What about the millions who will NOT crowd into a Sunday church service? Some may be bitter. Some may not feel welcome. Some, may have no interest. There are many who are so distant from the message of grace that celebrating God’s sacrifice is the furthest thing from their mind.

You know, I think Jesus is very excited about all of those who love Him and make this a special event to let Him know how thankful they are for what He has given them. I think he is looking upon those of us who know Him intimately and love Him deeply with a grateful heart. Jesus loves His family for sure.

But, I think Jesus may also be very interested in all of those whom have not allowed Him into their lives.

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20

missing peopleAs I think of the millions in church this Sunday, this comes to my mind.

Then Jesus told them this parable: “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent. Luke 15:3-8

What would Jesus do this Easter?

What is the answer to my question?

“Jesus, what is Your desire for me this year?”

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4 Responses to “Are You Going To Church on Easter?”

  1. Judy says:

    Hey John:
    A good question, one I try to ask myself each day. What would you have me do today? I now ask, have I reached any of those “lost” sheep this year, at least one with whom I can celebrate the power found in my own resurrection and in theirs? Has the busyness of this past year brought even one to Christ? My Hope is that Christ has used my desire to bring his chosen to Him allowing me the privilege to be his conduit. I wonder?

  2. Rog and Sue DeRaad says:

    Thank you John…

  3. Liz says:

    Thanks for your questions that make me think beyond the normal routine. Thanks also for your heart for the lost and desire and willingness to go out to find them like Jesus did. This is encouraging and inspiring to me.

  4. Brad says:

    We are not doing anything special this year for Easter and I actually felt guilty about it initially. Until I thought about why I felt this way. I realized that I felt like I wasn’t valuing what Christ did for me this day but then remembered that I regularly think about this. The reason I get up every day is because of what Christ has done for me through His death and resurrection.

    I am more than willing to have a big Easter celebration if I knew that we as believers put just as much time in on caring about the things that God cares about the rest of the year (i.e. fighting against racism through racial reconciliation in our churches; caring for the needs of the poor significantly; actually loving each other as believers and thus being a testimony to the world that we belong to Jesus). Easter would be of more value to me if I knew that God’s values were on our hearts all year long.

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