Easter can be a tricky holiday.
Some churches stop being churches and transition into Hoppin’ Eddie’s Bounce House and Family Entertainment Emporium. Every year around this time I get mail-outs from churches boasting “the southeast’s largest Easter Egg Drop” or “the loudest Easter celebration in northwest Henry County” or “free Easter chicks to the first 470 kids under 12 who buy advanced tickets to the Good Friday service.”
For others, Easter seems to be a time to redo Christ’s once and for all sacrifice on the Church’s behalf.
“Sorry that I can’t make it to your Easter lunch, or whatever pagan name you call it. I’ll be busy shaving my head, sacrificing a gentle lamb and boiling it in wine. But you go ahead and enjoy your mashed potatoes.”
People and churches are different and they worship in different ways. That’s part of the beauty of the body of Christ. But we have to be careful that we do not let Easter become a holiday about doing more, doing it louder and doing it bigger. It shouldn’t take an egg-dropping helicopter or a new dress to help us grasp the weight of what Easter is all about.
Throughout the centuries since Jesus’ resurrection, the Bible has proven sufficient for that task.
It is in the Bible where we read that the resurrection of Jesus Christ is one of many things that sets him apart from mere revolutionaries or good teachers (Acts 5:33-42).
It is in the Bible where we read that death, while still stinging us today, will one day lose it’s power. When Christ rose on the third day, death’s grave was dug. When Christ returns, death will be finally and forever laid to rest (1 Corinthians 15:54-57).
And the Bible tells me that I have an Enemy. That Enemy is not the leftist homosexual activist, the fundamentalist preacher, the environmental terrorist or the politician with whom I might disagree. No, my Enemy has been a liar and a murderer from the beginning (John 8:44). He has set his sights on my brothers in the faith (Job 1-2; Luke 22:31). And he is out to get me too (1 Peter 5:8).
He even tried to get Jesus but he failed (Matthew 4:1-11). And when Jesus rose from the grave, he guaranteed the eventual and eternal defeat my Enemy and his weapon of choice, Death (1 Corinthians 15:20-22; Revelation 21:4; Revelation 20:7-10). The resurrection means that Jesus wins. And the Church, because our identity is found in him, wins too.
Whether you worship in jeans or a new suit, at a huge domed stadium or a small church doesn’t matter.
What matters is that Jesus is alive. Death is dying. Our Enemy will soon be gone forever.
And that’s reason enough to celebrate.