First off, I want to say that this isn’t directed at anyone but myself. I may mention other people but it has nothing to do with them, I’m not blaming anyone for anything, they just happen to be players in the story.
I’ll be honest. Easter was flat. It just was. A number of people were gone for a variety of reasons. Who was gone or why isn’t the issue. How the number of people who were there (or not) effected me is what I’m interested in talking about. We were down to about two thirds of our normal family gathering. And when you aren’t that big to begin with it makes a big difference. “Here we go, another pastor talking about numbers wanting to build a mega church.” No, not quite. This is actually about the conversations God and I had on this Resurrection Sunday.
I started the service late, hoping some more people would show up. No one did. I was bummed. “God, where are the people who want you, who need you?” I asked. God promptly said back, “Don’t worry about who you don’t have in front of you. Take care of the ones you do have in front of you.” Crap. Fine. So we start the service. People have their coffee, I make some announcements, and Doug leads worship. During practice Doug and I realized that the chosen set as pretty mellow. There’s nothing wrong with mellow, but there really wasn’t anything celebratory, and it is Resurrections Sunday after all. Worship was good, but it just kind of carried over the funk that was already in my heart. Mellow. Flat.
I recently changed the way I use notes for my studies. I wanted something that made me more flexible in my speaking. I felt too tied down to my notes, afraid I would leave something out, so I was basically looking down the majority of the time. But now that I have this freedom to “riff” it lends to going longer. I went for 59 minutes. Sheesh! Shut up, Corby! And in my study prep I had hoped for and kind of planned on some visitors or non-believers. There weren’t any non-believers in the house. The phrase “preaching to the choir” comes to mind. But in this case, the choir is the only thing that showed up. It feels like the choir is all that ever shows up. I love the choir. I’m thankful for the choir, please don’t hear what I’m not saying. I am saying it would be nice to share the good new of new life in Jesus Christ with someone who needed to hear it right then and there. So far that hasn’t happened yet. Ever.
We got done, packed up, and went home. Some had family plans. We didn’t, and that’s no big deal for us. But the day ended just as flat as it began. I felt like there was no impact on the community. No change. (Again, these are just my feelings and may or may not reflect reality.) My heart is to reach out to this hurting and broken community. “But Corby, you are sewing. It takes time for the harvest.” I know this all too well. See, here’s the thing. For me, it feels like I have been sewing my entire Christian “career.” It feels like all I have ever done is sew. I have never seen direct fruit in my life. I have never led anyone to the Lord. I haven’t even ever prayed with someone to that end. I have seen much fruit from what I have sewn in others. A missionary to China. A youth pastor who leads a group of middle schoolers that is at least double the size of my church. Another youth pastor who is impacting kids. “One sews, another waters, another reaps.” I know that. I get that. But I want to reap! Is that wrong? Is that selfish?
The natural course of the thought process is to then ask, “What do I need to do to make this thing grow? What more do we need to be doing?” More advertising. Banners and posters. Cool artwork. Bring in bands that will draw. Buy a better projector so we can do cooler stuff on the screen. Try to be funnier (or funny, as the case may be). Something. As I was going through that list in my head, again, God showed up and gently said, “The only thing you and My church need to do more of is to give Me more of yourselves.” Again, crap.
So it was a humbling Easter. I’m kind of glad I didn’t have to go visit family and act happy because I wasn’t. I was broken. I was humbled. Resurrection Sunday is about the resurrection. Duh. But it is also about how we are raised to life with Him. In order to experience more of that life we need to die to self. Daily. So it isn’t about who is there on any given Sunday and who isn’t. It’s about me. It’s about you. It’s about us right now.