Skip to main content

Easter Made Easy? I Don't Think So!

I've been using the word "spectacular" over and over again recently, and it's the best word I can think of when I remember our Easter services last weekend. Saturday night was a joyous hour of worship, with great music provided by Hannah, Mike, Craig, Austin, and Daniel. Sunday morning was very special. In my mind the highlight of the day was the mini-cantata for Easter performed by our Choir. Brian, Melinda and everyone else offered inspiring voices in praise of the Risen Christ. Thank you!

We also had great attendance-- 325 people over three services, including many new faces. I have heard many positive comments from members and friends about Easter worship. Thanks to everyone for doing their part to make it happen-- whether that was welcoming new people, working at KidsZone or in the nursery, reading a call to worship or serving Communion-- it was a team effort in every way!

Yesterday I went to the store to pick up some things, and as I walked in the door I noticed all the leftover Easter candy marked for clearance sale. This is how the world views Easter-- one day on the calendar, then it's over. In other words, Easter is made easy! The Church does not understand Easter in this way. To get to Easter, we spend six weeks preparing ourselves spiritually-- the season of Lent. Then we participate in Holy Week services: Palm/Passion Sunday, Maundy Thursday, and Good Friday (thanks to our friends from St. Paul's Episcopal for joining us!). Then there's Easter Day services. But here's the thing: Easter did not end after the 11:00 service last week. It continues-- for another six Sundays!

That's right: Easter takes up 12 of the 52 weeks of the year. Whether we're preparing or continuing to celebrate, the empty tomb is on our hearts and minds for almost a quarter of the year. And that is a good thing, as Easter is the pinnacle of the Christian experience. Now check this out: recently I read the results of a Barna survey of 1,005 adults. Seven out of ten describe Easter as a religious holiday, but only 42% link it to the Resurrection of Jesus. It was described as a Christian holiday, a celebration of Passover, or a special day to go to church. "The specifics of it are really fading in a lot of people's minds," said David Kinnamon, Barna Group president. United Methodist Reporter, April 2, 2010.

All of this reminds me of Mary Magdalene at the tomb. She had gone there that Sunday morning to honor Jesus, was shocked to see an empty grave, had conversations with angels and disciples, and then saw the Risen Christ herself. Jesus gave her a mission: "Go and tell [others] that I am alive." We've had our special time at the cross and at the empty tomb. Now Christ sends us out into a world less and less familiar with the Easter message: "Go and tell. Go and tell." Many people shared with me the inspiration they experienced at church last week. Wonderful. Now Christ sends us in to the world to share our Easter joy. Mary and the other disciples were faithful to their mission. Now it's our turn!

Easter Peace and Joy, Pastor Frank


Popular posts from this blog

The Famous Black Cat Band

This week my former high school band director, Mr Reinke, died. Mr Reinke is a legend in my hometown of Bay City. He was the leader of our Black Cat Band for many years. He was a fiery man, a perfectionist with extremely high standards. He was a gifted musician. He and I both played the trombone; one of us sounded like a goose being strangled. The other sounded like... well I can't think of a metaphor to properly describe Mr Reinke's horn. It was amazing. He would pull that thing out occasionally to show us how to properly play a part of a song and the sound was spellbinding. 
Mr Reinke was very innovative in his music selections. He had us playing the most random music, from popular stuff of the day by Michael Jackson to Also Sprach Zarathustra (popularly known as the theme from 2001: A Space Odyssey) to Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody. This song in particular was a great choice-- it's amazing, complicated; however, this was the late 1980s. The song was originally released…

Grief Is a Powerful Thing

"So deeply do we care for you that we are determined to share with you not only the Gospel of God but also our own selves." 1 Thessalonians 2:8
My first couple of Sundays at Grace, early in July, a couple of different people asked me this question immediately before worship: "How are you feeling?" My response: "Terrified." This was met with sort of shocked looks, then afterward the same person would say something like, "See that was ok." I've always been nervous before preaching-- the ramped up nerves help me to focus on my task and give me energy. But this seemed stronger. On Saturday nights my first couple of months at Grace I would hear an inner critic saying, "You're not prepared." "You're going to bomb today." Most Sundays he was wrong. A couple of sermons did bomb, but that happens. I decided to seek out a spiritual director to help me discern what was going on with me. I knew it was internal, but couldn…

a response to gideons international

last sunday prosper united methodist church welcomed representatives of the gideons to share about their ministry. how many times have you stayed in a hotel or visited someone in the hospital and found a gideons Bible there? and while no one can argue that reading the Bible is a bad thing, or that distributing Bibles to others in native languages is inherently harmful, i would like to offer some thoughts on the practices of the gideons, as they were described at church.

1. bravo to the gideons for distributing 73 million Bibles last year. however, most of the Bibles they sent were tiny new testaments with psalms. i am a Christian, and i love the words of the new testament. but those words have their foundation in the old testament, and to remove thousands of years of traditions and stories of God's powerful love and acts of salvation diminishes the power of the whole Bible. we must never forget that the old testament (or "first" testament or "hebrew Bible"…