The NFL has its Super Bowl, the NCAA has its March Madness, the PGA has The Masters, Tennis has Wimbledon, baseball has the World Series, and yes, of course, the Church has Easter Sunday. As it should be, Easter Sunday is always “The Sunday of all Sunday’s” when it comes to the worship and gathering of the Church. It is the blockbuster event of the year. Everyone comes back, comes out, shows out with their best outfits (even hats!), and brings their highest anticipation for the big day. Families show up in mass and worship together with smiles and excitement! It is generally the highest attended day of the year for most churches.
As with most churches, Easter Weekend was nothing short of AMAZING for us at He’s Alive Church. It began with our first ever Good Friday Service. It was a service where no words were spoken and the only words uttered and released were the passionate expressions of those singing heartfelt worship and thanks to Christ for His sacrifice. The images, the words, the silence, left everyone speechless, and it inspired souls all the way until the end. There was a feeling and awareness of the heavy presence of the Holy Spirit in the room that night, and everyone physically present in the room felt it. The packed house service without words left its patrons without words, but yet profoundly humbled and grateful for the sacrifice of Christ on the cross. It will not be forgotten.
The weekend culminated with three services on Easter Sunday. From the simple reading of the Resurrection account in Scripture, to energetic worship, to the powerful drama, to the moving story from the He’s Alive Tour, it was a celebration that brought to life the reality of the message on the front of the t-shirt that so many were wearing…Jesus is everything and He is LIFE!
It was also a celebration of victory over so many difficult things from the last year as we have navigated our way through COVID. We must not forget that the building was empty last Easter. Leading an organization that is created and meant to gather, through a year full of separation and isolation has been no easy task. After the last several months, it was a wonderfully gratifying thing to see a building full of people with smiles on their faces. Combining our on-site and online attenders, we had over 800 worshipers celebrating the resurrection with passion and zeal! It was an amazing weekend and we thank the Lord for it!
It would be great to take a few weeks off and bask in the glow of everything the Lord did on Easter weekend. It would be great to celebrate and talk about it for weeks. It deserves that. But the reality of life for every Preacher or Worship Planner is that Sunday is always coming. Every other major sporting event gets an entire year to prepare for the next one. In the church, you get six days. Well, by the time you factor in getting music, notes, and preparations to all the people who help make it happen, you really only get about four days at most. Sunday is always coming…always.
Strangely, while Easter Sunday is the highest attended Sunday, the Sunday after Easter is one of the lowest attended Sundays throughout the year. It seems odd, you would think everyone would be so excited about what happened on Easter Sunday that they couldn’t wait to get back for the next Sunday. But sadly for many, apparently, the next Sunday is not always coming.
In fairness, at least in our area, many schools couple Spring Break with the week after Easter, which means many vacations are taken at this time. The weather is perfect, the kids are out of school, this is understandable. I’ve been there and done that as well. The truth is that I’m actually not talking about a day on the calendar. The reality is that the followers of Jesus should be celebrating the resurrection every time they meet, making a Sunday in mid-July just as important as Easter Sunday. Jesus is alive and deserves to be celebrated forever, not just one day out of the year.
The Resurrection, the Gospel, is more than just an event or a day. It is a lifestyle, a way of life. Jesus is more than just a compartment reserved for weddings, funerals, emergencies, and rescues. He is Lord of it all. That means everything, every part of life. The Gospel never stops, the Resurrection never ends…Sunday is always coming for every believer, or at least it should. But in that regard, so is Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Every day is resurrection day for the believer, in good or in bad.
In John 20, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb to pay a visit to Jesus on that resurrection day. She had no expectation she would encounter a risen Lord that day. She was simply going to pay her respects to Jesus. There are many like this in churches all over the world today. We meander in and out on an occasional Sunday, but we mostly come to pay our respects to Jesus and get it done. We have no expectation that we will encounter a powerful, risen Savior on this day or any other day, or that we would encounter such a thing in our daily lives. But at least Mary came, and kept coming, and Jesus met her persistence profoundly.
Mary encountered the power of the resurrection in her tears that day when she met Jesus face to face. It is interesting that as she wept at the tomb that day, she had the angels in front of her and Jesus behind her. She was surrounded by resurrection power, even in her grief. When Jesus spoke her name, she fell to her knees in adoration. I believe if we listen close enough, if we keep coming, keep showing up, we’ll find a Savior who surrounds us with Himself and His angels, calls our name, and reveals His resurrection power to us.
Lastly, as Mary clung to Jesus’ feet that day, Jesus told her, “Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father…” There are many interpretations for what Jesus meant by this statement. But I believe an accurate one is that Jesus was telling Mary that things were about to change dramatically and they weren’t going to be the way she once knew them. Jesus was telling Mary to not hold too tightly to the way things were, something powerful is about to happen. The Holy Spirit was coming and the Church was about to be birthed!
Either way, what is clear is that some of the first words Jesus spoke to His followers following His resurrection was to tell them “Go and tell.” Don’t just stay here. Everything is changing…go! The power of the resurrection is that the Gospel is always on the move. Sunday is always coming. Believers have been changed and everything is changing. Believers never take a day off from serving Jesus. So whether you’re sitting on a beach, riding a bicycle or taking a walk on a beautiful Spring day, sitting in a restaurant, or confined to an office desk, continue to let the power of what you have experienced in the resurrection compel you to “Go and tell, go and live” this resurrection story for all who will listen. The Gospel never stops…Sunday is always coming! Breathe it, celebrate it, show it, tell it, experience it, love it, live it!