This Sunday is Easter. Around the world it will be singularly the largest day of church attendance for the entire year. Many will come to celebrate the resurrection of our Lord. As a pastor, I’m glad and Praise God!
In preacher humor, we often joke about this larger attendance on Easter Sunday as we talk about CME Christians; referring to all of those folks you only get to see three times a year, Christmas, Mother’s Day and Easter. That got me thinking this week, why is that so? What I came up with was this: Maybe it’s because in the large crowds that will gather this Sunday, many will come only to “Celebrate Easter” and that’s good. The ones that will continue to gather for worship throughout the year, will be those “Experiencing the Resurrection” and that’s better.
You see, it’s refreshing and inspiring to celebrate an event. It is life-giving and life-changing to experience it. On Palm Sunday I shared this story from the Special Olympics some years ago. Maybe it can help us understand this a little better.
Nine children with challenges lined up for the 100-yard dash. The gun sounded and the race was off. But only a few yards into the race, one of the children fell and began to cry. These challenged children did not understand the world’s concept of competition, getting ahead and taking advantage when a competitor was down. So the other eight children stopped running and came back to their fallen competitor. A young girl with Down’s syndrome kissed him and brushed him off. The children lifted him up together, arm in arm, they ran over the finish line. The audience rose to their feet in applause; there was not one winner there were 9 winners.
In the little story, you can see the difference between celebrating an event and experiencing it. The audience was inspired by what they saw and they celebrated that act of grace and compassion they witnessed. It had to be life-giving and life-changing for the little boy who experienced it. For the rest of his life, he will not remember his fall but he will remember the experience of, despite the fall, he won the race (along with eight others.) I pray you will come to know the life-giving power of “Experiencing the Resurrection.”
That’s why I invite you to join us in worship this Easter Sunday morning, at Sunrise Service at 7:30 am, Easter Breakfast at 8 AM and/or Worship at 10 AM. Come join in “Celebrating the Resurrection.” Better yet, join us in “Experiencing the Resurrection!” My sermon will be “Easter: Experiencing the Resurrection!” The scriptural text for the sermon will be John 20:1-18