The Sunday After Easter1
This Easter was a great day for us as a church. We asked people to adjust which service they attend so we would have room for the guests we anticipated. We were intentional in our service planning and sermon so that the gospel would be the only offensive element of our service. We fixed a few things around the building, and I asked the band to show up earlier than usual. (Musicians do know there are two 6 o'clocks.) We had the highest attendance in the history of our church. Easter is a special day.
But Easter is not the "Super Bowl of the church." Easter is not the day we suit up, march onto the field and win the game for Jesus. Easter is the day we fix our eyes on the resurrected Christ. Easter is the day we gather together to remind one another that Jesus has already won for us. Easter is one more day when we proclaim the reality of the resurrection and are stunned at God’s power. Yes, it is a unique time culturally where unbelieving friends in North America walk into a church and hope the walls don’t fall down. It's a special day for local churches to gather and celebrate. But it's not our Super Bowl--it's an opportunity.
The Joy and Trial of Easter Sunday
As worship leaders we are entrusted with serving our congregations by leading in corporate worship. Though this is a sacred trust, we don't have to be polished entertainers or poised articulators. We are not auditioning for potential church members or dressing up the gospel in song. We don’t have to be an edited version of who we are–we only have to be humble, available, and faithful. Our aim and our prayer is that the glory of Jesus would shine on people, even those who only have the courage to walk through our doors once a year.
This week was my 22nd year to lead worship on Easter Sunday. Over the years I have had to fight for gospel clarity about what Easter is and what it is not. I’ve have sometimes felt overwhelmed with the pressure of wanting everything musically to be perfect. I have been tempted to trust in my own efforts to see people respond to the gospel. Some years I have done well, others I have not. With each passing year the gospel echoes through this rusty heart and I marvel at the power of God put wildly on display in the resurrection.
The Next Sunday
But now, Easter has passed. This might not affect you, as you planned for Easter was with the same fervor you exhibit any other week. But maybe you feel like you're on the bus ride home after youth camp; like the crash that comes after an emotional high.
The Sunday after Easter can seem like back to business as usual. You aren't putting in extra effort. Your church isn't offering additional service times. People will not be spilling into the aisles and standing in the back of the auditorium. But that does not mean the next Sunday is less important.
We gather each week on Sunday morning because of the miracle of the risen Christ on the first day of the week. It is because of the resurrection that the church gathers Sunday after Sunday in the power of the resurrection. Any time the church of Jesus gathers together it is a big deal, worthy of our best offerings, and be assured we are carried by his grace.
My prayer is that as worship leaders, we will rest in the finished work of Jesus. It is in this rest that we are able to work wholeheartedly with skill and faithfulness in our task to lead. Whether this Sunday is an all time low attendance, or your church continues to advance numerically, our confidence is not tied to the amount of people in our church but to the steadfastness of Christ’s unwavering love. This Sunday, stand in front of your own church wearing your own armor and boldly tell the wondrous story of the life, death, resurrection, and return of Jesus. Every Sunday is Resurrection Sunday.