Truly Experiencing Easter

Pastor Richard Kapfer once suggested that churches should conduct a completely different type of Easter Sunday service than the one we usually do. For starters, he said that we should make our sanctuaries as bland and as barren of color as we can that particular Sunday. That means no Easter lilies, no Easter banners, etc. And all the lights should be dimmed as well. Also, any background music should be low and somber. Basically, the sanctuary should be cold and lifeless in order to accurately represent the mood of that group of women who first approached Christ’s tomb at dawn on that Sunday morning so long ago.

But then, once everyone is seated in the sanctuary and the story of the women approaching the tomb has been read aloud, someone should proclaim in a loud voice, “He is not here! He is Risen!” At this point, the sanctuary lights should be turned on, trumpets should sound forth, and all the flowers and decorations be brought out and placed in their proper settings. In Kapfer’s estimation, such a Sunday morning service would help us all to better understand the effect Christ’s resurrection had upon that group of women.

While I myself have no plans to implement Kapfer’s plan at Roan Mountain Baptist Church this coming Easter Sunday, I can’t say that it wouldn’t make for a powerful service. It might even break us out of the mundane banality that too many times marks the “routine” of Easter Sunday services in our churches. Certainly the morning of Christ’s resurrection was anything but routine!

The fact is, though, even if our churches never quite catch the full vibrancy of Easter, that doesn’t mean that you can’t. With this goal in mind, let me encourage you to revisit the Easter story this coming Sunday, and make a point of doing so in a way that is new and fresh to you. Try, as best you can, to place yourself in the shoes of those women who went out to Christ’s tomb that morning to anoint His decaying corpse with spices, only to discover that the tomb was empty and He had risen from the dead.

To those women, Christs resurrection meant that the Jewish religious leaders hadn’t won after all. The brutality of the Roman soldiers hadn’t actually had the last word. The cross wasn’t the end of Jesus because, in the end, death couldn’t hold Him. It also meant that everything that He had ever taught and done was bursting with relevance again, and the possibilities were now limitless in the lives of His followers. Friend, if you can catch a moment or two of that sensation this Easter, then you will truly have experienced the holiday. And it’s my prayer that you will genuinely be able to do just that.

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