Much of the world celebrated the resurrection of Jesus last Sunday. Another large portion of the world noticed Jesus, heard the name in some form, but did not celebrate. Still another quite smaller portion of the world didn’t even notice. In America, though, most people did notice Easter.
However, as I think a little bit deeper about Easter, I think most people probably did miss it. Huh? How could people miss Easter? I mean let’s be honest, 3 billion dollars worth of candy is pretty hard to miss.
Yes, I think people realized a holiday of some kind had occurred. And yes, people really did notice Jesus (and the Easter Bunny). Lots of people got up at sunrise to honor Jesus. But I think that they missed him. I’m not going to compare Jesus and the Easter Bunny here; I want to go deeper than that.. What I think people missed is the enduring meaning of Easter. Now, before you quit reading because you know where this is going, hold your horses. This is different.
If Jesus really died and then rose from the dead, and Christians aspire to be like Jesus, then Christians need to take Easter Sunday with them on Monday as well. What this means is dying themselves.
No, not physical suicide, but death to the things that they are attached to, entitled to, feel connected to - the things with which so many Christians have affairs. I’ll camp out on one, but with two parts.
The first is personal money. If Christians are serious about Easter, they need to die to their addiction to money. Consumerism, capitalism, and individualism have run amuck in the Christian church so badly that it is “normal.” How much money was spent on Easter clothes? Let’s say a church of 1000 people averaged $25 worth of new clothes for Easter (many people buy nothing new and other go to some great expense). BOOM! That’s $25,000 worth of unnecessary crap Christians feel entitled to. I bet that same church collects that in a special contribution for mission annually.
The second is corporate money. Christian churches feel compelled to have land, buildings, and various assets. The more I think about it, the worse it gets. Utilities alone is a fortune, and then there is insurance, maintenance, upgrades, repair, and on and on. Missions, relief, social justice and other things that require resources typically come after churches take care of the “fixed” costs. I’m not 100% against buildings. I think the Impact Houston Church utilizes their buildings in excellent ways. However, for most churches, their buildings are “the church” are treated like “the church” and protected as “the church.”
What would a congregation do if it suddenly had no building? Well, it would find a way to get a new one. What a waste of time. Why not reorganize and shift the focus of resources to the people who really need them instead of the people for whom a comfortable life gets even more comfortable?
When churches have a building, it is impossible to resist the belief that attending a weekly worship service is what being church means. It’s not! Wait, let me try that again IT’S NOT!!! Our buildings, and the way they structure our lives give meaning to how we believe church life to be. If there is a building, then church life is going there.
However, if there is no building, then what does church life look like?
The church of Jesus, the Jesus of Easter stands opposed to wealth as an entitlement for those who earn it. The church of Jesus gets excited about wealth as a surgeon gets excited about having new surgical instruments that will help save lives. The surgeon never boasts of his surgical instruments or merely hangs them on the wall for everyone to see what he or she has. No! The surgeon uses those tools for the benefit of other people, the people who need it the most.
May the church of Jesus come to know Him in their hearts.
Let me know Him in mine.