I have told this story several times now, but it bears repeating.
Our friends at Peniel United Methodist Church, where I served back in 2007, had a great sign out a few years ago. It read something like this: “Why wait until Easter? We worship here every Sunday.” Of course, the message is easy to understand. It would be hard to find a Christian church anywhere in the western world (that is, the Americas, Europe and Oceania) whose attendance does not hit its peak on Easter Sunday.
On the one hand, there is some logic to this. Easter is the holiest day of the Christian year, the great celebration of our Lord’s resurrection. There is simply nothing else like it. No other religion tells such an amazing story. It is hard to imagine that anyone with knowledge of our story would want to be left out of such an observance.
But on the other hand, coming to church on just one Sunday causes one to miss an incredible story that unfolds from week to week, as the very Son of God is born into the world (as we are), grows to adulthood (as we do), is tempted (as we are), confronts the problems of this world (as we do) and finally faces death (as we do). The complete Christian story is of a Lord and Savior that shares our human experience with us and is therefore all the better equipped to care for us and help us. Even his greatest act, defying the cross and overcoming death, was for us, that we might be reconciled to God once and for all.
We are at the pinnacle of the mountain now, telling the best part of the story. But the story is not limited to one or two special Sundays. Throughout the season of Easter, which runs through June 9, we shall be celebrating the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ and what that means to us. Most of the Sundays following Easter Sunday itself talk about the time he spent with his Disciples after the resurrection. This is important, because it provides witnesses to the fact that Jesus himself had indeed been raised from the dead. It also provides opportunities for instruction to those men and women who would begin the Church.
Later in the season, we celebrate two other key dates on the Christian calendar. Ascension comes near the end of the season and celebrates our Lord’s ascension into heaven. Ascension Day is May 30 this year, but we, and most United Methodists, shall observe it on the Sunday following, June 2. The next Sunday is the Day of Pentecost, June 9, the second holiest day on the Christian Calendar. It is the day when we remember how the Holy Spirit came upon the disciples and instituted formally the Holy Church.
As always, we at Salem will remember these things with genuine praise, prayer and proclamation, delivered through traditional apostolic worship and Biblically-centered preaching. Please be a part of our God-given fellowship here, as we tell again the incredible story of our redemption. Don’t wait for another Easter!