I don’t exactly know how to say what I want to say here. This is really just kind of a ramble, which I guess fits in with the title of this blog, as opposed to a well thought out argument (which I usually try but may not really successfully pull off).
It’s “Holy Week.” I woke up this morning (I started writing this on Palm Sunday, I don’t know when it’s actually going to get posted), and pretty much everyone I know who’s a Christian and posts Christian things on their Facebook/Twitter/Instagram had posted something about it. Our call to worship this morning was from Zechariah 9. Those things were great. I, in no way, want to criticize that. It served as a wonderful reminder of the significance of this day.
But this week, a lot is going to be made of Easter. There will be Maundy Thursday services (I’m preaching one), Good Friday services, and sunrise services Sunday morning. These are good things. After all, Easter is the very reason Christianity exists. No resurrection, no Christianity. Pretty simple. Easter is a big deal.
I know lots of pastors, and they all share similar frustrations of the pattern many people hold of going to church on Easter and Christmas and pretty much no other time. That is frustrating, but I kind of wonder if it’s not, at least in part, our fault.
I grew up in a weird church. There were lots of great things about it, and there were lots of weird things about it. That’s the best way I can sum it up here. During my time there, I saw it go from your average Southern Baptist church to something that bordered on Pentecostal to something attempting to be super trendy. But the one constant was the big deal that Easter was. Growing up, we had a huge passion play. Then for a few years we rented out a livestock arena and had a service where about a million people showed up and we had shuttles coming in and all that.
Like I said, Easter was a big deal, and we treated it as such.
But my thing is this – and this may be feather ruffling, it may not be though – I wonder if we put too much emphasis on Easter (please notice I said Easter and not the resurrection). I wonder if part of the reason people only show up on Easter and Christmas is because we make it seem like those are the only days worth showing up.
I mean, my church was a pretty normal church – passion plays and having big services aren’t anything unique. Other churches do crazy stuff. I’m sure there are many levels between.
Why does Easter get such special treatment?
Is Jesus any less resurrected on a Tuesday afternoon in August than on the first Sunday after the full moon following the March equinox? If He is, then Christianity is lame. If He’s not, then why do we act like it?
The amazing thing about preaching the Gospel is that week in and week out, we get to proclaim Christ crucified, buried, and risen. Every Sunday. The apostles saw the resurrection as such a big deal that they centered Christian worship around the Lord’s Day, Sunday, as opposed to the traditional Sabbath. We celebrate, or we should celebrate, the resurrection every single Sunday. That’s also the point of the Lord’s Supper. We take it, or at least we should take it, on a regular basis, as Jesus said, to remember Him.
Everything we do has consequences, intended and unintended. When we make a spectacle out of Easter, whether it’s dressing up way nicer than you normally would or giving away cars, flat screens, and iPads, you may be sending the message that this one Sunday is special. You may also be sending the message that the other 51 of the year…aren’t so special.
So celebrate Easter this Sunday. But celebrate Easter every Sunday, too, because it’s just as big of a deal next week, the week after that, and all the other weeks after that.