Easter Sunday. The day more people show up in church than any other day. And this morning was no exception.
Everyone comes out, dressed up in the best they have. I don’t quite understand that, either an attempt to out-do one another, or trying to show God just how good we are. Look at me in my three piece suit. Check out my snazzy Easter Bonnet. I must be good if I’m dressed this nice. Is this some kind of left over Puritan tradition, or did Jesus really put on his sharpest tunic before clearing the temple?
I also find it odd that little or no attempt is made to make things understandable to the “unchurched” person. At my church every Bible passage was read from the Kings James Version, which even to my “Christian” ears sounded undecipherable. Before the offering was taken, my pastor told the visitors that they need not give. He explained that the people of the church had committed themselves to a budget, and this was how they met that budget. Of course then he went on to say that it’s everyone’s rightful duty to give–effectively undoing what he had just said. And then there was the responsive reading. We had just finished singing “He Lives,” and before beginning, the man leading the responsive reading said, “And if you don’t believe he lives, here’s proof,” and he proceeded to read the passages describing Christ’s resurrection (again in the archaic King James Version). Now certainly to a Christian, that’s proof. But he was clearly talking to the unsaved that were there that day. Proof? Quoting Bible verses at somebody is proof? I couldn’t help but question that.
You can tell I had a rather cynical attitude the entire time. And what happened? How effective was this sub-par outreach? After the sermon, two people came forwarded and accepted Christ, two more had raised their hands, but didn’t want to come forward, and nearly a dozen raised their hands asking for prayer in dealing with spiritual issues in their lives. Perhaps I should shut my cynical mouth, and realize that God is going to work no matter how things are done. Of course that doesn’t mean we should put no work into a service, thinking that God will work despite our laziness. But perhaps it does mean that I should be a little less judgmental of what I think is a church service that doesn’t speak to the unsaved.