To all my friends who made Easter meaningful in our congregations yesterday,
thank you. All you preachers, liturgists, musicians, singers, teachers, ushers, lily arrangers, hot cross bun bakers, and plastic egg-fillers – bless you. Now you can rest. Sort of.
There was an excellent strand of comments on RevGalBlogPals’ Facebook page over the weekend regarding the effort that goes into Holy Week. One of my colleagues had been disappointed that so few parishioners had come out on Maundy Thursday, especially considering the enormous effort that went into that service. The truth is that only a small fraction of our people consistently attend “special services” like Maundy Thursday or Good Friday.
Oh . . . but Easter.
We all expect packed pews on Easter Sunday. We expect to dazzle and be dazzled.
If the masses are going to join us for worship at all, it’s going to be on Easter Sunday (second only to Christmas Eve and Mothers’ Day.) I remember the stress of wanting to awe friends and strangers with the sheer gorgeousness of Easter morning. I wanted every note, word, smell, and sight to inspire. I remember the utter exhaustion on Easter afternoon. But I also remember the feeling that Easter sometimes felt like a performance and that didn’t feel so great.
Was the hope that we would do our best because The Resurrected Jesus deserves our best? Or were we hoping that our Easter guests and other rarely seen worshippers would be lured back next Sunday?
[I wonder if anybody’s ever studied the incidence of Easter visitors returning to the same sanctuary the Sunday after Easter. If so, please share.]
What does “a successful Easter” look like? The sermon uplifts? The music soars? The children smile? The offering plates yield the financial secretary’s best hopes? The post-worship brunch is scrumptious?
What if we judged a successful Easter on different things?
The blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have good news brought to them. (Matthew 11:5)
Image of students in Garissa, Kenya.