In February I wrote about the challenge to leaders when presenting the message of Valentine’s Day.
I feel that there are equally challenging aspects of the Easter message.
Easter is either too well known or not at all understood. Those in our churches know the message too well and that can lead to familiarity weakening the strength of this most important time. Perhaps we as leaders need to dig a little deeper ourselves to uncover something afresh that will hit even the hardest attendee/member. Maybe we need a fresh encounter with the message of Easter ourselves?
For those who are not in our churches the message of Easter is largely bunnies and eggs.
Many years ago I was asked “doesn’t the church have something to do with Easter?” How can we find ways of presenting the unchanging message of Easter to a largely uninterested world in ways that they will understand and want to know more about? In our town we have a Good Friday walk of witness that attracts over a hundred walkers who process through the town in silence and with sad faces. I am one of them and I understand the meaning of the walk but I have to ask, what does this say to the onlookers about church – miserable people with bad news, in the way of traffic, stopping them getting to fun events?
Now I understand the gruelling undertaking by Jesus who prayed that it might be taken from him but I can’t begin to take in the agony of the cross, the hurt of those who shouted abuse and the pain of whipping. I really don’t know how His followers got through the experience either. The emotions of that first Easter day needs to course through our veins. For me, the Maundy Thursday service is one of quiet and deep meditation that enables me to go into Good Friday with more meaningful thoughts. Then comes the joy of Easter Sunday and the celebration of the risen Saviour.
I also like to muse over Easter Saturday – the in-between time; Jesus is dead and buried – now what. A time of uncertainty, doubt fear and anxiety but the overriding meaning of this time of year is New Beginnings, Joy, Salvation. So the challenge I offer is to find ways of conveying the whole gambit of emotions to our churches and communities in a way that they can engage with.