This afternoon I was reading through Easter liturgies and I came across this prayer:
Lord of all life and power, who through the mighty resurrection of your Son overcame the old order of death and sin to make all things new in him: grant that we, being dead to sin and alive to you in Jesus Christ, may reign with him in glory; to whom with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit be praise and honor, glory and might, now and in all eternity. Amen.
That prayer sums up powerfully the whole point of Easter. It isn’t just about Jesus’ resurrection from the dead, but ours. And not only at the end of our earthly lives; through the resurrection of Jesus Christ we are raised to new life and hope today. In this life. Death and sin no longer have dominion over us, and we are free to live in joy. This is good news for all of us, but particularly for those outside the walls of the church. Folk you know. You work with them, go to Bearcats football games with them, attend special events like the recent Celtic Festival with them. These friends and acquaintances without a church home are part of Jesus’ flock, but they are waiting for invitation. They might come to the celebration with you April 16.
Easter Day has always been the pinnacle of Christian worship; in fact, the earliest Christians celebrated Easter long before Christmas. New believers were baptized on Easter. They were dressed in white robes for their baptized, and given new clothes to symbolize their new life in Christ. Some people like to think of Easter as the Church’s Super Bowl, our big event. For me, Easter Day is more like Game Seven of the World Series. It’s the culmination of Holy Week: Palm Sunday, Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter Sunrise, and other special observances.
This will be our first Easter together, and I am already excited. All of our focus on that most holy of days needs to be on the people we do not know. We need to be positive, welcoming, joyful, and excited. You know, we need to be Grace UMC! But on that day let’s place all of our focus on new people, not our regular church friends. This is our best chance to show the community what we believe and why. Will you join me in praying for Easter? Pray for one person. One person who doesn’t know Christ. That one person will worship that day and experience Christ’s resurrection for themselves. Pray that God will reveal to you one person to invite. Pray that God will use you on that morning to make that one person feel welcome and loved. Who’s your one person?
Alleluia! Christ is risen! Christ is risen indeed!