Why Come to Church at Easter?
The church proclaims its greatest message – Jesus’ resurrection from the dead – on Easter. It’s also the hardest to believe for many people. The ancient scriptures and creeds seem far from the modern world. To some, the church can seem like an artifact from an earlier time. Many folks have objected to various church teachings, and of course the institutional church has sometimes not lived up to its own values.
Still, I think people long for something greater than themselves, a source of deeper meaning and purpose than the world provides. When I feel the coming of spring – the springing up of crocus and daffodils – the idea of resurrection doesn’t seem so far-fetched. In fact, it appears to be part of the fabric of nature.
The church is our human attempt to be this resurrected Christ in today’s world. God knows, it is flawed, as every community is. We are always forming and reforming, seeking to be closer to God, better at loving our neighbors. This community, the “Body of Christ,” invites us back, no matter how many times we stray, or how long we stay away. Margaret Renkl, for the New York Times, writes this in an article called “Easter is Calling Me Back to the Church”:
The year away from church hasn’t made me miss the place itself. I don’t miss the stained glass. I don’t miss the gleaming chalice or the glowing candles or the sweeping vestments. But I do miss being part of a congregation. I miss standing side by side with other people, our eyes gazing in the same direction, our voices murmuring the same prayers in a fallen world. I miss the wiggling babies grinning at me over their parents’ shoulders. I miss reaching for a stranger to offer the handshake of peace. I miss the singing.
So, in the name of the church, I invite you to join with those wiggling babies and people praying for our fallen world: come to church. Sing the hymns that proclaim the best of all possible news: Jesus Christ is risen today! If that is so, then all things are possible. JBM