Churches were full Sunday in celebration of Easter. There was a lot of excitement. Several of my pastor friends were quick to post their attendance numbers, and I watched our choir commenting on the packed sanctuary as they entered. One commented that the last time he saw the church that full was the Sunday after 9/11.
This Sunday, though, will probably see things return to normal, as far as attendance and excitement. It is the usual experience the Sunday after Easter, just as the crowd slowly dwindled on the Sundays following 9/11. Some of it is natural as family members will not be in town to attend church with their loved ones. But Sunday does not have to be a letdown. Here is some tips:
Realize that the tomb is still empty. Every day is a day to celebrate the Resurrection. While we have one day a year reserved for a special remembrance, the empty tomb should direct our lives daily. Resurrection power and its effects are available to us every day, including each Sunday when we gather to worship.
Overlook the size of the crowd. I have preached some horrible sermons on days when the church was more full than normal, only to have people talk about the “great service,” and they base that conclusion on the crowd. Look throughout Scripture and you will see the times when Jesus changed the life of one person. Yes, He fed thousands, but there were many more instances of one-on-one contact. The Lord does not determine to work based upon the size of the crowd.
Do not be motivated by emotion. Emotions are high on Easter. Special preparations are made for the service. Family gathers for church together. Many are wearing new, bright-colored clothes. The children are excited about hunting eggs. People enter church expecting great things. Sunday returns to “normal,” but when we live by faith, we know that the Lord still deserves our praise, He still wants to work in our lives, and His Word brings change.
Do what you did last week to prepare. Pray for your pastor. Invite someone to attend with you. Get up earlier. Celebrate with your children the empty tomb. Expect the Lord to work!
I look forward to gathering with my church family Sunday morning to worship the One who is worthy of our worship. The One who defeated sin and death. The One who still is in the life-changing business.