So yesterday was "the big day" in the Christian world.
Easter. Resurrection Sunday. The Lord's Day.
It's also the day a lot of people get dressed up (what's that about?) and come sit through a service.
Here are my reflections on the Easter holiday, in no particular order.
- It was great to have some guests with us. I hope they know we do this every Sunday. Regardless, anyone is welcome, anytime.
- Tons of energy in the service yesterday. Loved it. It seemed like people were really having fun.
- There is a great temptation on the part of pastors to measure success by numbers. Numbers equal people, so they do need to be measured, but they are only an indicator--not the final measurement. People learning to follow Jesus in every area of life is the final measure. So "church" isn't the building or the service, it's the community of people who are learning from Jesus how to live their lives.
- I think people get dressed up on Easter because of (1) tradition, (2) they feel it's honoring to God (3) It's fun to do one day a year (if you don't do it every Sunday). None of those are in themselves bad things. I would simply argue it's more honoring to God to dress "normally" (especially if you are a "church" person) for these reasons:
- #1 - Breakdown stereotypes. Let's face it, religious people (Christians mostly) have a certain reputation and stereotype (As in, "those people who dress up once a week and go into that building"). Dress "normally" and you send the message that being a Christian isn't about keeping up a certain appearance and breakdown a stereotype.
- #2 - Love God. If you love God, you love the things God loves. And, if I understand Scripture correctly, God loves people more than anything (see John 3:16-17). More than tradition. More than feeling like you are "dressing up for God." More than doing something fun once a year. So to love God is to do everything possible to connect with the people God loves.
- #3 - Avoid the funny looks at the restaraunt after service. Seriously, I've been in STL for a few months now. I don't think people like Christians here. Religion has a bad rep. Let's follow the example of Jesus--who came in part to clear up God's reputation that religious people had ruined.
- Love that the people of Trinity don't make a big deal out of dress. I've been some places that do--and they aren't reaching people.
- I love talking about Resurrection. Here's my logic for making sense of what seems impossible. Life is a gift and a mystery. We don't know where it really comes from (other than attempting to name the scientific processes behind it--which still aren't able to describe it's origins.). If life itself is beyond our comprehension and defies explanation, then someone coming back from the dead is actually within the realm of plausibility. If you are intellectually honest, you have to at least give the idea some credence.
- The tomb is empty...so we now serve the world in Jesus' name. We are agents of resurrection, making it happen wherever we go. Second chances. Working for justice. Spreading human kindness and compassion. Living with grace as a fundamental orientation toward people. Creating beauty. All acts of resurrection.
- Easter week is exhausting, so next year, the Monday after Easter will be a church staff holiday!
Here's the video we showed to begin the Easter service. Fans of U2 will appreciate the music.