He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Matthew 28:6
When I was growing up, the celebration of Easter was surrounded with some beautiful traditions. Midnight Mass on Saturday night before Easter was an experience of anticipation. The Resurrection was celebrated with ceremony that had been centuries in the making. The statues of the saints in the church had been covered in purple drapes ever since Ash Wednesday- a mark of sorrow and sobriety anticipating the coming sacrifice of Jesus on the cross on Good Friday.
At Midnight, the bells, which had been silent all during the Lenten season, pealed out all over the church. The purple drapes fell from the statues, and the choir broke into joyous songs such as “Jesus Christ is Risen Today”. The joy and atmosphere was electric in the celebration!
Much liturgical richness has been lost, I think. Certainly, in many Mainline Protestant churches, such majesty has been absent. Yet, as I read social media, and speak to many Christians in several venues, I think that many in the younger generations long for the rich liturgy of formal worship that has been largely stripped away in the past two or three decades.
Informal worship and seeker friendly services may not be as inviting as once thought. Many people long for their churches to have a more formal, participant-engaging experience in worship. Long beloved liturgies that embrace some predictability and comfort enhance the beaty of collective worship.
Formal choirs, familiar recitations of prayers by the congregation, and a predictable pattern of service are often very comforting in a world of incredible unpredictability.
I am not saying that we throw everything out. I am just positing that people yearn often for their church to be a place of comfort, so that when we are out in the world, living the Resurrection message, we can have the solid footing that we need every weekend.
Just a thought.
The more important message is that however we celebrate the miracle of Resurrection, we recognize that we stand in a line of centuries of believers who expressed joy at this marvelous Easter celebration.
Happy Easter, my friends!
Prayer: Lord, how can we even comprehend fully the miracle of Resurrection? You have provided for us that which we cannot do on our own, Amen