I was sitting in Starbucks earlier this week working on emails when one of my good friends approached my table and supplied a big howdy. He, too, is a pastor and he, too, faces the dilemma of Easter Sunday. We laughed together over the strange pressure that attends us as pastors whenever this particular Sunday approaches. We both agree it is total nonsense, but nonetheless, we have to work through the 12-step process every time the calendar flips to the next Resurrection Sunday.
Here’s how I would break down the 12-step process in the mind of the pastor:
- Uh-oh, it’s Easter Sunday. That means I need to talk passionately about the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.
- Since I speak about the Resurrection of Jesus Christ every Sunday, I need to say something extra special about it this particular Sunday.
- Hmmm. What’s extra special about the Resurrection that I’ve never said before? I need it to be novel, unique, unusual, profound, and memorable. Then everyone who shows up on Sunday will go away thinking, “I have the best, most creative pastor in the whole wide world. His Easter sermon beat all other Easter sermons I sure do love my church!”
- Wait a minute. I’m not playing that game. I don’t need to be pressured by the expectations of men. I am a man yielded to the Spirit of God. I will do only what He asks me to do. And even if my entire congregation rejects me, I’m God’s man!
- So, in keeping with this logic, if the Holy Spirit is emphasizing a Scripture on, let’s say, tithing, or head-coverings, or speaking in tongues, then (clear throat) I would speak on that (awkward squirm), even if the topic of the Resurrection never came up. I am going to be obedient to Him and not led around by dates on the calendar or by the expectations of church traditions.
- Wait a minute. But, wasn’t the calendar built by God? This is not a man-made holiday like President’s Day or Memorial Day. This is a God designated Holiday. This is the Day that He rose from the dead. Wouldn’t the Holy Spirit want me to speak on the importance of this great Day?
- But, if you are going to speak about the Resurrection, you need to say something new and novel about it – something that has never been said.
- Why do I need to say something new and novel about the Resurrection?
- What’s wrong with just keeping it simple and talking about Jesus Christ – who He is, what He did on the Cross, and how He conquered the grave? What’s wrong with passing along the glory of this Day with childlike simplicity? After all, isn’t that my job?
- Yeah! That’s what I’m going to do. I’m not going to try and impress. I’m merely going to share my love, passion, and conviction about the most stupendous, most amazing, most triumphant event that has ever occurred.
- I’m so glad it’s going to be Easter Sunday! This should be a fun week of preparation because this is the topic I know better than any other and am more passionate about than any other!
- Thank you, Jesus, for giving me the privilege of pastoring Your Body!
An empty tomb is worth bragging about. And that is precisely what each of us pastors, that are privileged to hold the pulpit this particular upcoming Sunday, have the amazing privilege of doing.
He is risen!