We visited a neighborhood church today for Easter in hopes of hearing a new revelation or a striking message. We were very disappointed. The pastor used an old message that has been preached over and over again; one that we both had heard many many times before. We thought, this is Easter, the church is full, there should be an exciting message.
The pastor even admitted that it was a recycled message that he preached before. He kept repeating the same words and saying that we have all heard it before. Couldn’t he come up with something new? My mind wandered to episodes of my favorite TV show that I’ve seen hundreds of times and have lines memorized. Blah blah blah. I didn’t want a re-run. I wanted something new.
Everyone today is looking for something new. A new diet. A new financial scheme. A new thrill. Who wants to go and hear a re-used message? I doubt that we will go there again. Same old, same old.
Here is a recap of the message: Jesus was arrested, tortured, and brutally killed even though he was innocent. He suffered a terrible death but gave his life on the cross so that all others could live. He was buried in a tomb but in three days he rose up from the dead. He appeared first to a group of women and later to his disciples and then to crowds of people. A small group of followers over the years have believed in this and declared it as “salvation” to the sinners. They actually base their joy and purpose on this story.
I have gone to church on Easter Sunday 53 times in my life. I keep hearing the same message over and over again. I guess there isn’t anything that can be added to it. It’s actually not a repeat. It’s a re-life. It’s a new hope every time it is heard. It is new faith every time it is preached. It is joy beyond any understanding of joy that we can imagine. It is our purpose and only meaning. I shouldn’t have been so hard on that pastor – he was just doing his job – declaring the gospel and the meaning of our lives. Maybe I will visit there again. And I hope that I get to hear that same message again.
New International Version (NIV)
Jesus Has Risen
24 On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. 2 They found the stone rolled away from the tomb,3 but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. 4 While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. 5 In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? 6 He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: 7 ‘The Son of Manmust be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’ ” 8 Then they remembered his words.
9 When they came back from the tomb, they told all these things to the Eleven and to all the others. 10 It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the others with them who told this to the apostles. 11 But they did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense. 12 Peter, however, got up and ran to the tomb. Bending over, he saw the strips of linen lying by themselves, and he went away, wondering to himself what had happened.