I spent the better part of Monday with a shop-vac. As I was de-confetti-ing the sanctuary, I had plenty of time to reflect on our Easter Sunday worship and celebration, and I thought I’d share some of my thoughts in answer to inevitable questions.Why such a celebration?
It is true that we worship a risen Savior every Sunday as a church family. Easter Sunday, however, has come to be associated with celebrating Jesus’ resurrection in particular. It struck me a few years ago that much of the church ‘goes through the religious motions’ on Easter, the same as on any other weekend. However, I firmly believe that if someone you loved died, and you buried them, and then a few days later they showed up at your door saying, ‘Yep, I was dead… but now I’m alive… do you have anything to eat?’ your response would likely be more demonstrative than saying, ‘gee, it’s good to see you again’. So, I have asked the worship team leaders and those who plan our services at Christ’s Church to be as creative as they can be to foster a real environment of celebration for us on Easter Sunday.Why a confetti cannon?
A few years ago I got the idea of adding a moment of surprise into our Easter celebration. I was thinking about that moment when Mary and the other women recognized a risen Jesus along the road, or when Peter recognized Jesus on the shore – that had to be a moment that caught them off-guard. So, in 2005 we rented a confetti cannon and fired it on the closing song and suffice to say people were caught off guard! For 2006, one of our engineering types built us a cannon of our very own (thanks again Jim!). I think it’s safe to assume we’re the only church in town with our own confetti cannon. The point has been simply that – surprise and celebration.Why the music selection that was played this year?
Each song was selected for a reason. The 70’s musical Godspell offered up ‘Prepare Ye’. It was chosen for a prelude of sorts to set the tone for the morning. Did you notice the progression? There was the horn fanfare followed by the solo proclamation, followed by the entire music team’s joining in. That’s a picture worth consideration. ‘Make A Joyful Noise/I Will Not Be Silent’ gives us a chance to say with our hands, hearts and voices what our souls would cry out in response to Jesus’ resurrection – and it functioned as a great kick-off song for the service, a favorite here at CCA. The two hymns ‘Christ The Lord Is Risen Today’ and ‘Crown Him With Many Crowns’ were chosen because it wouldn’t be an Easter celebration without the rich truth of those songs and the great heritage of their being a part of Easter worship celebrations. ‘You Are Holy/Prince Of Peace’ was selected for the proclamation of who Jesus is, and how we live in response to Him – and the manner of singing, splitting into parts and encouraging greater participation of the congregation. ‘My Redeemer Lives’ has become a standard Easter song at CCA. Just as it wouldn’t be Easter without the Easter hymns above, it wouldn’t feel like Easter at Christ’s Church without this anthem. As a postlude song, we selected ‘Where The Streets Have No Name’ from the band U2. We realize that for many U2 represents ‘secular’ music, but that’s a conversation for another set of blog posts. We wanted a song that would take the text of Acts 1:10-11 to the next step – from our ‘looking to the skies’ to Jesus return. This song does that – it calls us to look forward. In all honesty, it was also added because it is a song that would catch a few of our visitors off guard and be familiar. Again, the philosophy behind that decision can be discussed some other time.More thoughts on the music…
Shari arranged horn parts for most of the songs, and we added in the trumpet and sax hoping to lend an added blessing – not only for our ears, but for the Lord’s ears. Thank you Shari, Patrick and Richard for your talents. It worked! What a blessing! God has blessed us with so many talented musical people – the talent to arrange music, play with skill, sing harmonies, and so on. Many thanks to Shari, Lisa, Caroline, Heather, Peter, Jimmy, Mike, Jesse and Dan. You rock! And, Kevin and Daniel in the booth – thank you!Why the message from Acts 1?
Each year I desire to look at the record of the resurrection from a slightly different angle. I spend time reading the account in the different gospels and mentions of the resurrection in different texts as a part of my own devotions leading up to Easter. This year we have been considering the Kingdom of God, and the mention of Jesus continuing to teach on that theme after His resurrection and those last couple of verses I mentioned earlier – looking skyward, etc – led me to go with this text this year. It seemed to fit our overall study series pretty well.Beyond the obvious desire to worship the Lord and celebrate His resurrection, what are my hopes for the aftermath of this kind of a service?
After the service I spoke with many people. One grandfather told me about a conversation he had with his grandson about the celebration. A first-time visitor told me with tears in her eyes, ‘I really needed that!’ A family visiting from Mt. Vernon said to me, ‘We were told that we had to visit Christ’s Church on Easter by some friends of ours’. (So, we have a reputation, eh?) And I’m willing to bet that several others drove out of the parking lot asking, ‘What was that?’ and if that’s the case, I say AMEN! To all of it, I say AMEN! I am under no illusion – what I say for the most part on Sunday mornings will go in one ear and out the other, and that’s probably a very good thing! But, where people are given an opportunity to talk about Jesus or to think further about Jesus, or in some cases challenged to simply rethink Jesus, that is what I hope for. And I believe this can be a great service for you to utilize in conversation. You can seize the opportunity to dialogue with people about all the things I’ve written above, and your thoughts on those items. Conversation that leads to life – ‘generative conversation’ as I call it – is communicating Christ along the way.
I welcome your thoughts and reflections – and particularly your stories if you had any interesting experiences or conversations related to our Easter service. Click comments and post away!
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