Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Good Friday....Easter

Well I am a few days late with a blog post but I decided I would still write one.

We have an opportunity to share our personal thoughts about life, God, church, etc on this blog. Please understand that this post is not supposed to come across as complaining or wanting to cause an uproar....this is my own humble opinion and I will continue to submit to the direction and leadership of the church. (now you may be excited to see what I write)

Lets start with Good Friday. This is very special day in our Faith. This is the day that our God whom we worship was murdered on a cross. This moment changed history FOREVER! Jesus' death paid for the sins of the world and so much more. (On a side note, I am reading Fifty Reasons Why Jesus Came to Die by John Piper. My goal is to read one reason a day from easter to Pentecost, the birth of the church.) I think we should celebrate this with a special service on Good Friday, much like a Christmas Eve service. It would be an opportunity to focus on the cross, the horrible nature of our sin, the humility of Jesus, and the sacrifice of God. It's a time to think about a perfect relationship, that our minds cannot comprehend, being separated - God the Father having to turn his back on God the Son. Maybe it is a special communion service.

Now to Easter, please try to understand the point of this is a desire for people to come into a relationship with God. I will admit I was not at the Easter service this year so some of my thoughts my be based on stereotypes. I don't understand why a church would have an Easter cantata. This is one of the two days out of the year that people go to church, Christmas being the other. Those two days should be the most "seeker friendly" and by seeker friendly I do not mean watered down. I know there are people that need to have their traditions because they either know someone or have personally been effected by a certain tradition (this one being an easter cantata). I also know that during this past Easter cantata at least one person was moved to tears and desired her brother to hear it, so I do understand that God uses what ever he wants to get His word out. Also people want to use their gifts and talents to glorify God (i.e. singing).

Its one thing to point out "problems" or "issues" but it is important then to provide a solution. For those people that need to have a cantata, why not a Palm Sunday cantata. That is a special, joyous occasional as well. Hosanna to the King as he makes his way into Jerusalem. Okay, so what do I mean by "seeker friendly" then. I will share some personal thoughts and some ideas that came from Mark Driscoll's post about Easter. Driscoll had six points: Keep your message short, keep it simple, keep it invitational, keep it special, keep it personal, and keep it biblical. I will build off of those with a few of my own thoughts. Most of the time when people share the gospel they focus on the cross and what it did to pay for our sins but with out the resurrection it would not have any power over death. The resurrection seems to get pushed to the back of the shelf but I don't think it is intentional. I love Easter for the reason that it pushes the resurrection into the limelight. It would be really cool to have a baptism service as part of the easter service demonstrating the death, burial, and resurrection of our Lord. The gospel should be at the center of the message and people should have an opportunity to respond. People, both Christian and not, should be challenged to confess their sins and repent. The power of the day/weekend should be magnified. This is getting long enough and I think you get my point.

We worship an amazing, living God!


Chad said...

I appreciate that you know it is a sensitive issue, and that you are careful to assign blame. I commend that.

I am on the same page though. I can't stand Cantata's. Not that they aren't fun and worshipful, but I feel like they get in the way of our mission to share the Gospel on the 2 days a year when people actually come to us. Yea sure, God can definitely use them, and has in the past as you've mentioned. How can a church decide to make something more "pleasing" to a seeker while trusting that God will still use it, but not trust that God would use something not as culturally "pleasing" but spoken in faith and boldness! I've been very disappointed with Easters and Christmas's in the past, and have avoided even being at Calvary for those times.

I'm glad you decided to speak out about it, because I feel exactly the same way.

Tim B. said...

I am intrigued by the festivals in the Old Testament. They were instituted by God as a time to remember and rejoice. They were long, rambunctious and involved ceremonies. I would be excited for the Church to begin celebrating feasts as well. Make the Easter and Christmas celebrations week long, with services focused on various aspects of what we are celebrating. Provide opportunities for the church body to be together frequently during that week.

For example, Good Friday would be a service for admission of sins and repentance, because Christ died on that day to cover our sins. Easter Sunday, in celebration of His resurrection, would be much worship and praise, perhaps an all day celebration with feasting and fellowship interspersed with worship and preaching.

Just some thoughts.

Terry said...

I also agree. But you have to also remember that those of us my age have grown up with an Easter cantata being THE way you did Easter. Back in the day it was the seeker sensitive way of bringing folks the gospel. In the past at CBC we have had a "musical" for Easter - in fact I have pieced together bits and pieces of music, dialog, drama, monologues and asked whoever was going to preach to give a straight-forward gospel message and "preach it to a decision".

I also find it hard to sit thru a cantata if I'm not singing in it. You may not have been aware but the cantata this easter was to have congregational participation -- they were to sing alone when the words were displayed.

That said people choose what they want to participate in. Thousands of folks will plop down 50-100 dollars to go to a concert to listen to music they have heard over and over again. And they get upset if the band doesn't play their greatest hits.

So what's the solution? Keep taking suggestions and modifying the service to keep it fresh and understand the purpose of the service going into those particular days - be intentional.

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