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