When our kids were very young we would help them color Easter eggs (the real ones boiled in hot water). Later we wised up and started using the colored plastic eggs with special prizes inside. My wife loved making Easter baskets for each child and filling them with things she knew they would appreciate. Each basket was unique in its contents: favorite candies, special gifts. Later in the day, after church we hid the eggs in the yard for them to find. At the end of the day our home was cluttered with Easter basket grass, candy wrappers and plastic eggs.
As a minister getting the church ready for Easter was always a lot of work. We had special activities planned for the kids, special prizes to give away, we decorated the stage, prepared special weekly handouts, all of the teams serving were on their “A” game. Lots of extra work for the worship team, volunteers would come to help clean up, do a little yard work and make the church look spring clean.
As a Pastor I have always felt the pressure of this big day. Every message is important but Easter is a time when many who do not regularly attend church will be in attendance. It is a unique audience and I feel the pressure to connect with them and to deliver what I believe is at the heart of God for them on this day. Easter services are special. God always shows up! From the moment worship begins you can sense His presence. This Easter was no different. I am so grateful for all our volunteers and staff who worked, prayed and served with excellence. You are so appreciated.
So, what happens after Easter? Some of the volunteers stayed around and emptied the baptismal tank, it was taking longer than we all wanted so we started helping it get empty by using buckets and watering the lawn. Lol. I walked around the auditorium and picked up a few coffee cups, and about 15 or so handouts that had been left behind. I also did some bucket duty and soon the tank was disassembled and put away. The last of the volunteers walked out. I armed the alarm and left the building. I had just walked into the parking lot when I realized I had left my things on the front row, so I said goodbye to the last car and went back inside to retrieve my things.
Once inside in a dark auditorium I was overcome with a sense of what had happened just moments before. We baptized four individuals into God’s family. At the altar call someone asked me to come over and pray with a friend. The individual was making a recommitment to Christ. It was such a joy to see their face and hear how God was moving in that moment in their lives. Just moments before that I had been approached by two people who were weeping it was clear that God was doing something wonderful in their hearts. I thought about how several of the worship team members had fasted during the week praying for God to move in this service. So much had happened. I fell down on my knees and began to give thanks to God.
What happens after Easter? We give THANKS for all He has done. We take a long loving look at our families and we re-calibrate our life priorities. Nothing can change until we change. We begin by putting God first in our lives and in our week. We need each other. Together we form the church family, the family of God. The best way to follow-up Easter is to begin each week with God and God’s people.
This Weekend at the Grace Place: GRACE PLACE AT THE MOVIES
Watch this trailer: