What do you think about when you think about Easter? Many Canadians have traditions. Your traditions may involve eggs, chocolate and family get-togethers. Or your traditions may involve a more spiritual bent towards church and a reflection on the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Regardless, I fear that millions of Canadians who attend church for Good Friday and Easter this weekend, won’t act Christian – even at church! Let me explain.
When I read the accounts of Easter in the gospels, I’m first struck by the hope that’s in Jesus Christ. It’s impossible not to be moved by the wonder of the resurrection – Jesus’ amazing victory over death. It’s right for us to reflect on this incredible truth. But what stands out to me about the believers in all of Easter accounts, is that they’re going and telling other people what happened. The women who visit the tomb early on Easter morning can’t contain themselves. Matthew 28:8 says, “So they departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples.” The women had to share the news they’d received (John 20:2, 18). The disciples on the road to Emmaus do the same (Luke 24:33). When Jesus appears to the disciples when Thomas is absent, they’re quick to tell him the good news (John 20:25). The angels tell them to spread the news (Matt 28:7). Jesus tells them to spread the news (Matt 28:10, John 20:17). Then finally, Jesus commissions them to spread the news (Matt 28:18-20, Luke 24:48-49, John 20:21). It’s clear that there’s a direct connection between the amazing reality that Jesus rose from the dead, and an eagerness to share that news with others. But what does that have to do with acting Christian at church this Easter?
This Easter, many Christians will go to church and focus on Christ. They’ll enjoy a time of worship. They may pause to greet some friends. Then they’ll go home. And they will have failed to act Christian at the most celebrated time of a Christian’s year. Juan Sanchez’s article gives suggestions on how to do things differently. Let me summarize his tips and add some of my own:
1. Invite someone to join you to church this Easter. Is there someone in your life who might respond to an Easter invitation? Is there someone who might be curious about your faith? Is there a new Canadian in your life who may just be curious to see how Canadians celebrate Easter? Take the opportunity.
2. Greet everyone you see with a smile whether you know them or not. If you know the joy of new life in Jesus Christ, express it by greeting people this Sunday and introducing yourself to people you don’t know. Greet newcomers and take the time to get to know someone at church.
3. Assist those who don’t seem to know where they are going. At Easter, there are a lot of people coming and going and new people can get lost when they come to church. Once you’ve been to church for a while you know where the children’s ministries are and where the coffee is served, but guests need someone with a friendly face to show them around.
4. Sit with someone you don’t know. Everybody has their favourite seat. And being Canadian we don’t like to invade someone else’s space. But no one should feel lonely at church and offering to sit with someone new is one of the easiest ways we can communicate acceptance and love. If sitting with someone you don’t know is too much, at least sit near the front so guests who come late don’t have to parade in front of the entire congregation to find a place to sit.
5. Come early and don’t rush off after the service. We offer a 75-minute service where we focus on Jesus Christ. But by coming early and not rushing away after the service, you make yourself available to connect with other people and you may just end up making the message of Easter more believable for someone you talk with. Be a part of the Connection Time this Sunday and invite someone new to join you for a coffee.
Looking forward to seeing lots of Christians act Christian this Sunday!
In awe of Him,