An Easter Challenge
by Pastor John Partridge
As I write this, Easter is less than three weeks away and by the time you read it, it will be closer to two weeks. But as we grow nearer to our grand celebration of resurrection, I have a challenge for you. But first, a few reminders.
Here in the northern hemisphere, Easter arrives in the Spring and so many of the signs and symbols of spring are also associated with Easter and resurrection. Trees that seemed dead all winter, return to life as they bud and flower. Spring flowers that disappeared over the winter, sprout anew and bloom even when they are sometimes covered with late season frost and snow. Our songbirds begin to return from their sojourn in warmer climates to our south, build nests, lay eggs, and new life appears. And after a winter of sheltering indoors and wrapping ourselves in layer after layer of winter clothing, we too feel reborn as we emerge from our cocoons of blankets, parkas, mittens, and gloves.
For these, and many other reasons, spring has been, for us, associated with resurrection and Easter. But Easter is about more than that. Easter is about Jesus conquering sin and death, not just for himself, but for us. Jesus’ return from death to life was only the first resurrection and why Jesus is the “firstborn from among the dead.” Jesus was the first, but his defeat of death, and our celebration of Easter, are symbols and reminders that everyone who has put their faith in him will also find resurrection. We will all rise from the dead into an eternal life.
But, as God’s rescued and resurrected people, our calling isn’t just to say “Thank you” at Easter and go on about our everyday lives. As we have heard several times in recent weeks and months, our calling as rescued people is to busy ourselves rescuing others. We are called to be agents of hope, reconciliation, and resurrection. As such, the people around us should see resurrection in us in the way that we live our lives every day.
If Jesus has rescued us, and raised us from the dead, let us trust that he can also work toward “resurrecting” and bringing new life to our church. We are witnesses to that possibility because in recent months we have brought in several new members. But even though we have returned to our sanctuary, and even though our attendance is improving, we could, and we should, do better. Because we are grateful for what Jesus has done for us, we should be at work sharing that gratitude, and the good news of Jesus Christ with others.
And so, here’s the challenge: Even though there are only two weeks between now and Easter, I want to challenge every member, and every non-member who regularly attends Christ Church, to bring someone to church. And when I say, “bring someone” to church I do not mean “invite someone to church.” I mean that we should invite people, over, and over again, until we get at least one of them to commit to coming with us to Christ Church. We all know that Christ Church is an awesome place to make friends, to worship, and to be in mission to the world but how will others know how great it is if no one invites, and brings them?
To be fair, it might take longer than two weeks, but Easter is a good goal because many people are open to an invitation at Easter and Christmas. But the challenge remains. Start talking to your friends, your neighbors, your coworkers, the cashier at the grocery store, the person who does your hair or your nails, it could be anyone. Invite them to church. Invite them to Easter. And keep inviting them. And don’t stop after Easter. If all of us do this, if all of us become truly invitational, we should have visitors in our congregation every week and not just at Easter. And, if we regularly have visitors, some of them will certainly decide to stay.
And that’s when we will witness resurrection power.
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