Another Easter almost over…or is it?

I’m preparing to speak at yet another Easter Sunday, it will be my 32nd Easter leading at the same church!

To be totally honest its quite a challenge thinking of new things to say over 30 times when the story never changes! It’s the same at Christmas, I mean I have thought at Christmas of sometimes saying, ‘they knocked on the door of the inn and the innkeeper said “yes we’ve plenty of room come on in!!”

But I haven’t….and when it comes to Easter most of us know the story and the story never changes. Jesus dies a horrific death, is buried in a borrowed tomb and on the Sunday is raised from the dead. It’s the same story every single time, but here’s what I’ve realised this year;

The story only gets tired when it gets tired in us.

The power, the meaning, the truth, the energy, the life, only get old and tired when they get old and tired in us.

It only gets familiar when it becomes over familiar to us.

It only becomes empty when it becomes empty in us.

So as another Easter draws to a close, how do we keep this Easter message fresh and alive in us?

If you’re a Jesus follower….don’t ever get over what God has done for you

This Easter we baptised a load of people again, this past year has seen our record number of baptisms in a year and at each one I’ve been moved to tears again when I see the power of this message working out in people’s lives. People with no church or faith history being set free by the risen Jesus, from all kinds of backgrounds and experiences. People moving from death to life, from despair to hope, from lost to found. At baptisms I don’t want to dry off too quickly…

‘Hallelujah here and now, you have turned my life around, Amazing grace how sweet the sound I was lost but now I’m found.’

For me keeping the message fresh is about maintaining a holy curiosity to see things I’ve never seen before. The cross is easy to romanticise, sanitise and sentimentalise, but it’s power is real. For instance this year, noticing the fact that Jesus was crucified in the middle of 2 criminals (yes I knew that) but then the realisation that Jesus is always in the middle of sinful broken people. The people religion says to keep at a distance Jesus puts himself right there with them, in the middle.

As Mike Yaconelli once wrote,

‘The grace of God is dangerous. It’s lavish, excessive, outrageous and scandalous…apparently God doesn’t care who he loves. He is not very careful about the people He calls his friends or the people He calls his church.’ (Dangerous wonder)

If you’re a Church leader….don’t settle for Easter only being about your church

Next Easter make sure Easter is not only about you and your church but it’s for your community. God didn’t ’so love the church’ He ‘so loved the world’ that He gave his son. Yes, Christmas is maybe a better opportunity for inviting people to church but Easter is a great season to impact your community if you take advantage. Here’s the thing….

If you want to reach people that nobody is reaching you have to do some things that nobody is doing.

This Easter we ran a community egg hunt in our town in partnership with our local council, community organisations, shops and businesses. 940 children took part which meant thousands of people came into our building at the end of the event and many of them booked into our Good Friday family fun event. Who knows, some may even come to Easter Sunday?

People in the community said and posted on social media their thanks and said what a great time they had. This means we are building bridges, this means we are trying to demonstrate we are FOR our community. We are called to shine our light ‘before’ men not ‘at’ them! One lady who came to church for the first time at that family event said to me, ‘this was amazing you will definitely be seeing us again!’ This is why we do what we do…Yes we took some criticism for the event on social media from people claiming we are all deluded to people claiming we are all heretics for having bunny ears on display! But let me say it again….

If you want to reach people that nobody is reaching you have to do some things that nobody is doing.

Church leader, start praying and thinking now about Easter 2025 and what you could do FOR your community that builds a bridge for Jesus to walk across.

Church leader, fight the gravitational pull of every church towards insiders and align everyone around the mission of ‘helping people to find and follow Jesus’ and the by product will be…the message will never get old and tired for you or your church.

If you are not sure there is a God or that this Easter story is true…stay open minded

I love that when Jesus appeared to Mary in the garden after the resurrection he greeted her with a question and then used her name. He has a question for you and He knows your name, can you at least stay open and curious? Thomas doubted Jesus had risen from the dead but he stayed open and a week later was still hanging around with the other Jesus followers. Then Jesus appeared to him, with a question and his name…and the rest is history.

God loves each of us as if there were only one of us’ – Saint Augustine

8 thoughts on “Another Easter almost over…or is it?”

  1. Margaret Morcom

    “We are called to shine our light ‘before’ men not ‘at’ them!” Love this. It has echoes of some of those stories from last week – that coming to church here for the first time instead of judgement, they found welcome … and stayed to hear the rest of the story.

    Wherever we are, may we shine our light ever brighter each new Easter

  2. Thank you for this reflection Leon. Great quotes too. What comes to mind for me is the verse in Lamentations 3 where prophet Jeremiah reminds us that Gods love never ceases and his mercies are new every morning. He loves us yesterday, he loves us today and he loves us tomorrow… Though Jesus died for us thousands of years ago the significance is more relevant today than yesterday. It’s a symbol of Gods love for us and oves used here is a continuous tense. Easter is a reminder of this love and keeping a gratitude journal keeps me focused on recognising that what he did last year isn’t the same this year. His mercies are new everyday. Reflecting on the Holy Week through the gospels is also a good way to keep Easter alive and fresh. Thanks for the opportunity to share.

  3. Thank you Leon, you got me reflecting on Easter!!

    Gratefulness plays such a pivotal part in ensuring we don’t take Easter for granted and to celebrate to the hilt. Typically when someone does you a favour, there is a sense of loyalty that comes with that gesture, it is virtually impossible to forget, especially when it is (your back against the wall) situation.

    Let us take the following two examples, Jesus turning water into wine and the widow who was asked to get pots ready for an overflow.
    How can one forget miraculous acts of God in our lives.

    I love how Jesus waits for when there isn’t no other way and he steps in, that ultimate surrender point.

    This links in to Easter being the ultimate gift, l mean come on, who dies for anyone, yes okay the French guy did , that is one occurrence for one person, to have Jesus make the sacrifice to say yes father l will die, when he had the choice to say no, he even prayed and asked if it is Gods will “please take this cup from me” and for Jesus to say alright l will do this for humanity- for Laura’s sins, imperfections, and everything in between, to show her how much l love her is mind blowing, the deep love shown on the cross, is unmatched .

    I think the learning here is to emulate Christ and be more like him.

    When l reflect on prior to Jesus death, his mind was on the two thieves on the cross, come on, to think there was no judgement on Jesus part, even though he was blameless., yet about to die.!!

    How can l ever forgot this sacrifice.

    Thank God we don’t have to pay back by dying for others, all we need to do is emulate his life, share his love through demonstrative acts of our own lives, the least we can do as followers. !!

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