My roommate had some friends over last night. While I should have been focusing on my homework I couldn't help but listen in to the conversation they were having. The three of them all attend the same church -- different from the one I attend -- and were discussing how disappointed they would be if their Easter service was just like any other boring Sunday service.
I didn't know why at the time, but I was getting really upset by their conversation. It seemed to make sense that Easter Sunday should be especially triumphant and celebratory. However, their conversation stuck with me, even after I went to my room to finish my homework.
Finally, it hit me: Christ has been raised from the dead since the first "Easter Sunday," so shouldn't all of our Sundays -- or all our interactions with other Christians -- be ones where we are overcome with the reality that Jesus has conquered death and brings new life to those who repent?
But there are days like Good Friday when we also need to remember the sacrifice made so that we could gain eternal life. So what should Sunday -- or, as I said, life all the time -- look like? Half solemn reflection and half joyful celebration? Or every other Sunday? Or is it possible to be both reflective and joyful at the same time?
Being the generally quiet introvert that I am, I'd like to make the case for the third option. You don't have to sing "Christ The Lord is Risen Today" to make you have joy in the Lord, nor does singing "In Christ Alone" automatically mean that you aren't celebrating new life; these girls were talking specifically about how the music sets the mood for the service -- another issue in the church I sometimes think about. If a person truly has the joy of the Lord in them, then even the slowest of songs about Christ's triumph over the grave will remind you of the great new life you've been given.
Also, its not the "church's" -- meaning here those who lead the service, make the weekly decisions and plan the music -- responsibility to make the congregation have joy and celebrate. A church is all about all
the people who gather together to fellowship with one another. If you don't like the way things are, tell someone who makes the decisions that you feel that way. Or even better, volunteer to do
something to change it. There is no use in complaining about it.
Well, now I'm just ranting, so to sum it all up:
So what do you think? Is the church responsible for making people feel reflective on Good Friday or joyous on Easter Sunday? Or is it a matter of personal attitude? And should that attitude be maintained throughout the year? Also, How does your church make decisions? Is everyone welcome to give their input?
- I think the joy of the Lord is something that should be in us year round, with a healthy balance of reflection. Both can, and I think should, co-exist year-round.
- I strongly feel that each person is responsible for their own attitude when coming to worship. If the joy of the Lord is something that you feel passionate about, especially on Easter, then bring that passion with you to church: it's contagious.
- People of the church think of church leaders like 'church authority' rather than fellow brother and sisters of Christ. If you want something changed at your church, then do something about it.