Saturday, April 15, 2017

Why I don't go to church on Easter Weekend...

I'm uncharacteristically quiet on Easter weekend. Starting Maundy Thursday I get very introspective and I internalize the events, mostly in silence. I appreciate that others post things about the cross and the empty tomb, but somehow for me...I can't. I went to a small Christian High School and we had a Good Friday service each year, and seven "Preacher Boys" would deliver a short, 5 minute sermon, each of us taking one of the final words of Christ. As an adult, I got in the habit of going to the Good Friday service at the church I attended, more out of habit, and maybe some guilt if I thought about doing anything else.
As I grew older and became a little more of a contemplative, I gravitated toward isolation on Easter weekend, especially Good Friday. It became more necessary for me to be by myself in order to stop the sounds of the world intruding on my desire to gaze at the viciousness of the cross, unobstructed, and remember what Jesus did for me. But I'd go to the Good Friday services at whatever church I was attending at that stage of my life because I still felt obligated. I stopped several years ago after the pastor of the church I attended at the time decided that the best day of the entire year to collect a gigantic, one-time offering for a new building project was the day Jesus was slaughtered on a cross. The entire service turned into a horrible (for me at least) attempt at solemnifying this vision for a new addition, and the emotionally burdensome twisting of the Crucifixion in order to squeeze the bucks from the faithful. ( "In light of Jesus' ultimate sacrifice on the Cross, we'll honor that by sacrificing for a beautiful new wing so we can spread the Gospel...")
After that day, I promised to never step foot in a church on Good Friday again. That is NOT to say that any other churches do things like this, or that it's wrong to have a Good Friday service at all. I just decided that for me...I'm going to listen to my heart on this and go it alone. For a while, I'd take communion by myself. But as years rolled on and I contemplated the Last Supper and the Cross more and more, I couldn't bring myself to break bread in remembrance. Not on that day.
Easter Sunday is the same for me. Let me repeat there is NOTHING wrong with Easter services. I just find that for me, personally, everything I'm supposed to be thinking about and celebrating gets lost in the mass of humanity. Easter Sunday is really like New Years Day for believers. I remember that He is risen. His new life means I have new life. Today it begins once again. I won't be in church on Sunday. Not because I think it's wrong. I love my church and my pastor. But I find that as each year rolls by, I connect less and less to the real significance of this weekend. Christmas and Easter are our center, as Christians. Without these two events, we have nothing. Routine has sapped the meaning from them and as a Believer, if I don't have that...I have lost my way.
That's why I don't post "He is Risen" memes or go to church on Good Friday. I am REALLY glad others do. I didn't write this to chastise or question anyone. I guess I wrote it in case any of you have a contemplative in your life and can't figure out why they don't get as demonstrative at the holiday as you do. I suppose I also wrote it to challenge us all to make sure we're considering what it is we're remembering.God bless. Happy Easter. He is risen!

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