After every significant event, there comes the moment when someone has that “Whew! It’s over!” moment.
With Christmas, it comes late that night or the morning of Dec. 26. After a young child’s birthday party, it happens as the parents sit on the couch and look at the gift wrap and new toys scattered around.
Many events in life have the “Whew! It’s over!” moment. After a short rest, the cleanup starts, and life goes back to normal.
This week’s column is written to Christians for all the days following Easter.
Last year (2020), I did a sunrise service live via Facebook from my back porch. A few hours later, I was the only person in the church building as another “live on Facebook” was broadcast.
A small church (about 30 people) in my local area has not had a service in over a year. They are planning to resume services on Easter morning. I wonder how things will go.
Another thought that comes to mind — many claim Christianity, but the only time they show up in a church is Easter. Will those people come back to the pews for Easter 2021?
My concerns about Christendom reach far beyond one particular Sunday. What happens after Easter?
Without Easter, Christianity crumbles like a house of cards. If Christ is still in a tomb somewhere, then He is not alive, sitting on the Father’s right hand, nor is He coming back. It is the empty tomb that gives us all hope — hope for eternal life; hope in knowing a better day is coming; therefore, hope to make it through today. Suppose the resurrection of Jesus Christ is a fairy tale. In that case, the Bible and everything it says about God and eternity are lies.
Forty days after the first Easter, Jesus ascended back to heaven. The last words He spoke before returning to the Father were these: “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth” (Acts 1:8).
Since Acts Ch. 2, every Christian receives the Holy Spirit, and hence His power, at the moment of salvation. Many want to use this power of God to perform miracles like healing and tongues. However, in Jesus’s parting words, He states explicitly the purpose of the power is witnessing. Do not get me wrong. I am not saying God does not perform miraculously through His children. Still, He emphasized witnessing, not the doing of miracles.
For Christians that never miss a church service, Easter is a huge event. Sunrise service, probably a breakfast at church, the regular church service, a big family meal after church. Somewhere in there, you can throw an egg hunt for the kids. All this makes Easter a hectic day, which has its “whew” moment in the end.
Those who attend sporadically or only once a year at Easter – Easter Sunday are much different from most Sundays — out of bed earlier, dressing up, longer than regular church services.
For both groups above, the day’s rush and splendor cause Easter to lose its intended importance.
Then there is the 2020 factor. Will those that have stayed home for a year come back? Will churches that closed for several months, possibly a year, survive now that things are starting to open back up?
Then comes the question that maybe we should be most concerned about — What about the power?
Shortly after the first Easter, Jesus gave us the power to “be witnesses” of Him. There was a time in this country when anyone referenced the Bible; people listened. There was a respect for God, His Word, His people. Sadly, today, often, the power of God is not seen because Christians keep quiet.
Christians have said to me things like, “Why don’t we see the power of God anymore? There are no miracles being done anywhere.”
The answer is simple. God gave us the power to “be witnesses.” If we are not using God’s power for its intended main focus, why do we think He would use His power for other things?
After Jesus ascended, we see them waiting for the power. During this time, they prayed; they earnestly prayed (Acts 1:14). We also see them using the scripture to determine their next step (Acts1:15-20).
Ok, Easter is over. Now what?
Prayer and Bible study are the preparation. Then the power of God is within the witnessing.
Christian, do we get back to normal now that Easter is over? Or do we work the preparation, allow God’s power to work, and get out there and witness?