"And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain
and your faith is in vain." I Corinthians 15:14
The sanctuary windows were covered thick with “spiritual ice” every Sunday. The pew Bibles hardly ever creaked open to follow the text from the preacher. The organist, right on cue, began to drift off to sleep along with the rest of the choir. The preacher didn’t teach, but simply told stories, hardly ever looking up and making eye contact with the congregation. Over time, the gloomy and dismal atmosphere began to drain me and Roberta as we attempted to worship there every Sunday morning. I recall one dull Sunday morning when we pulled up into the parking lot to worship, there were buzzards circling low in the sky above the steeple. I remember saying, “Well that looks like something out of a scary movie, doesn’t it? Sure you want to go in?” Sunday mornings were always spiritually dead UNTIL…
the first Easter morning service we attended.
As we entered into the Sanctuary, people were smiling and laughing, eager for worship to start. Men and women were arrayed in their vibrant, pastel Easter clothing. The cross had been decorated with all kinds of flowers, bouquets of plant life.
Confused, we looked at each other several times asking, “Where has this church been?” The sermon was uplifting, the choir director stayed awake (longer than usual), the pew Bibles opened for a change, and the spiritual ice temporarily melted away. Some sort of transformation had taken place and it didn’t make sense. Concerned by what we had witnessed,
I approached the pastor and made a few comments: “Wow, worship was great today. Why the change all of a sudden?”
He replied with a somewhat irritated response, “Today is Easter! Today is the day we celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus!”
I replied quietly, “Don’t we celebrate that every day though, as Christians?” He walked away in silence.
I wasn’t trying to be sarcastic. I wasn’t trying to be rude, uptight, or disrespectful. I was legitimately vexed at what I had witnessed. I kept thinking, “Why can’t we get people to worship like this all along?” The same people who were asleep in morning service the other 51 Sundays out of the year! The whole “show” that morning was unsettling and still is. It bothers me.
As Christians, we believe not only in the Crucifixion of our Lord, but the Resurrection as well. We are meant to celebrate the empty tomb not only on Easter morning, but every minute of every morning, of every day, of every week, month, and year! Otherwise—as Paul teaches in I Corinthians 15, all of it has no purpose and is in vain.
Friends and members of New Covenant, I challenge you this month to be excited about the Resurrection 24/7. Let’s get fired up to serve God consistently, not only one Sunday out of the year. As Acts 1:22 says, may we all be “witnesses to the resurrection” through our actions and words for Jesus. I look forward to being excited with you this month as we serve Jesus together!
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