As a church we are scared… not sure the direction all this is going/too afraid to say anything out loud. We know people are leaving. We look around every Sunday and see that some familiar face or family isn’t there. Justification: Oh, they just went to a different Mass. They’ll be back next week. Maybe… but deep inside we ask if they really will. We might even ask… Should I come back?
Ash Wednesday, Lent and Easter are approaching and hopefully there will be new faces joining the crowds. Some we haven’t seen in a long while… some we’ve never seen. When we’re scared, we tend to fall back on the safety and comfort of what we know… and often that tends to be a heady, intellectual, apologetic sales pitch. Here are the facts about Jesus’ life, death and resurrection… Here’s why you should believe it… and if you really believe it, your life will change. Good in theory. Take a look at some brutal realities that we need to face about our Easter guests.
1. They are asking questions that you may not be answering… and more: You are answering questions that they’re not asking.
2. They would rather be in bed or watching TV or doing almost anything else… but they made the effort to come to church.
3. They think they stand out like a sore thumb because they haven’t been around for a while… they don’t want to look or feel stupid.
4. They don’t speak your language… they need to follow along in the book and usually don’t know which page you’re on. Help them.
5. They don’t know your church’s secret hand shake… and they don’t know anyone else who’s there. Be warm and welcoming.
6. They are conditioned to tune you out… and they do it well. They feel a sense of obligation to be here. Use their time well and they may give the whole church thing another chance.
7. They don’t understand the true meaning of Resurrection—or care. How can you give them an inspiring piece of your heart and soul?
Maybe it’s time to celebrate resurrection differently…
What if we let the people tell their own stories of how Christ’s resurrected life has changed theirs? Lots of people. Story after story after story… some live/some on video. How great it could be if we let go of an apologetic approach that relies on analyzing the facts of the resurrection and moved toward simply telling our story as people of faith… and then retell it over and over and over again. I wonder if we might all hear the truest meaning of resurrection… and more so renew our spirits.