Each year at Easter for the last several years, my wife and I go through this intense weekend of busyness whereby I work and work and work for people to come to Jesus, and she takes care of our four kids, gets them dressed to look like princes and princesses, and gets them all to church by 8:00 am so she could then serve for a full day teaching and corralling a ton of other kids. Then we’d go to the helicopter Easter egg drop, and she would take care of all four kids with some help from others, and I would walk around ensuring that the helicopter wasn’t going to drop into the audience or talk to reporters or any number of things that needed to be done.
This year, none of that.
The good news is apparently God didn’t need me to be doing any of that. But what he did need me to do was help my wife in the kitchen for our easter brunch with family. He did me to read the Easter story of Jesus to my kids as they sat around the table. And he did me to have some great conversations with family and friends both on in person, on the phone, and via texting.
I don’t know if it will always be that way, but this Easter spending time with my family was the highlight. God gave them to me starting with my relationship with Carie in 2003 and I’ll never get another family like this, so I might as well spend some intense time with them.
We even went to church and to an egg drop which I’ll write more about later, but another thing that God doesn’t need: He doesn’t need a large crowd for people to come to Him. What He does need however, is a broken and a contrite heart.
Which is why some of the only places in the world that Christianity is actually growing are the places where there are attempts to squash it out. In China, there is a huge Christianity revolution taking place, and consequently, the government is trying to quell it even more, even going so far as to create a state translation of the Bible that will establish a ‘correct understanding of the text’. Its goal is not necessarily to destroy Christianity, but to ‘turn it into a fully domesticated religion that would do the bidding of the party.’
Interestingly enough, in America, a place where Christianity is already ‘domesticated’, and 58,476 people came to Christ across all locations on Easter, it’s not growing.
So what am I doing about it?
Honestly, I don’t know. I have plenty of friends who have amazing churches and did amazing things during their Easter services, and even have amazing friends who came to Christ during easter services followed by an egg drop. I also have plenty of friends who are done with it. Church and eggs and bunnies are now foreign to them on Sunday mornings and if they are going to follow Jesus, it’s not going to be a ‘once a week hypocrite fest’ but it will be at a homeless shelter serving people in need or some other worthy endeavor.
And here I am somewhere in between, not willing to give up meeting together but feeling about as uncomfortable in a group of parents and children struggling to get to the eggs first as Hillary Clinton standing behind President Trump on the Inaugural stage in January 2017.
I don’t want to sound rude, but please keep the ‘praying for you’ comments to yourself on this post. I’m not depressed, nor is this me feeling bad about myself today. LOL. I am genuinely trying to figure this out and finally after 20 years, I have opportunity to do so, and amazingly I get to do it for a short time with my amazing family!
The other thing I got to do this weekend was to really think through, process, and celebrate the resurrection of Jesus! I didn’t have much of a to-do list, and I wasn’t very busy, so I just celebrated. The way you celebrate when your team wins or when something you know to be true is proven right in the scientific community. I celebrated with my brain instead of with my emotions. I absolutely know that the resurrection of Jesus happened and that excites me so I really chose to personally celebrate it.
I wrote a post about the Easter eggs and the helicopters last week, but I chose not to publish it yet, maybe because it needed a bit of editing as it sounded angry or maybe because I didn’t want it to impact any egg drops happening this weekend, but I’ll leave you with this.
The resurrection of Jesus shouldn’t bring more stress on a pastor’s or a Jesus follower’s life. It shouldn’t bring drama or a haughty spirit or burnout to people who love him and have chosen to follow him. It should be freeing, so maybe if you couldn’t celebrate the resurrection of Jesus yesterday, try celebrating today or tomorrow or anytime this week.
It is after all, the cornerstone of your faith. Celebrate that cornerstone! And do it WITH your family.