Friday, April 12, 2013
The Sunday after Easter
I joked with the pastor before the service on the Sunday following Easter. I said, "Well, we find out today just how many listened to and believed last week's sermon." We both laughed, but, honestly, there's some truth to that. There's something intentional about going to church the Sunday after Easter. I mean, really, if we truly believed that Christ rose from the dead, wouldn't we WANT to come back for more?
Here are a few statistics in my area of how the numbers added up with Easter being the first and what many in the church have come to call "Slump Sunday" being the second. (The decline percentage follows in parenthesis. Beware: it's startling.)
161/143 (11%) An Hispanic church!
I don't know about you, but I find a couple of those numbers a little more than startling. Why do we have to pull out folding chairs on Easter morning and then have to blush embarrassingly when a visitor returns the next week and finds the sanctuary is not even half full? Do we not truly believe that Jesus REALLY rose from the dead? That Satan REALLY was defeated? That we REALLY have been given eternal life and can now live with Christ in heaven for "eternity ever"? Shouldn't our churches be overflowing even MORE on the 2nd Sunday of the resurrection because we have staked our lives on what we heard and have gone out and told everyone we know, "HE IS RISEN!"? Those who saw Him that first resurrection morning certainly couldn't contain it. Why should we do less?
Listen, I'm not throwing any stones here, and I'm certainly not talking legalism. I'm a church musician. I HAVE to go to church every week. I've rarely had the choice not to. But I've also asked myself on several occasions that if I were not paid to go, would I? And I can honestly say there were times when I would have opted to stay in bed.
So where is MY enthusiasm? Where is MY shout of joy? Have I lived in the aftermath of that glorious event for so long that I'm completely numb to and unaffected by it? I don't know, but when I read the accounts of the disciples, they NEVER EVER got over it. In fact, it literally killed all but one of them, and even he was exiled.
But just like the day after Christmas when we take down the decorations and carry the tree to the recycle center, the day after Easter, we put away the pretty colored eggs and pick up life as usual forgetting that anything spectacular has ever happened. And how tragic that is when the Lord Himself has busted the gates of hell wide open ...
FOR you and FOR me.
"Why do you look for the living among the dead?
He is not here, but has risen." (Luke 24:5)
He is risen indeed! Hallelujah!!!
Just an ordinary moment...