Friday, April 16, 2021

After Easter. Now what?

For most churches Easter is the BIG DAY. We celebrate the risen Lord. Not only do we prepare for a standout worship service, we send postcard invitations to every potential first time visitor we can. Most of our regulars will be there, as well as our intermittent attenders and some first time visitors as well. Everyone in their Easter best.

After it’s all over the church staff takes a much needed and well-earned rest. Things slow down. The excitement and stirrings of faith begin to fade in the hearts of first-time visitors and occasional attenders.

Weariness tends to follow surges of adrenaline but this is the time to increase our efforts. The church year begins now.

Jesus’ first followers had experienced the emotional devastation of his crucifixion followed by the elation of the resurrection. At one point they gathered around him and asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” (Acts 1:6 NIV)

This is a good question. In their understanding, this was the whole point. Jesus’ next words must have been a shock. He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:7-8 NIV)

Before they could respond, he was gone but they knew what to do. He had previously given them their marching orders. Words we commonly know as the Great Commission: “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20 NIV)

Furthermore, he promised them Holy Spirit power. This is the after-Easter message for all who are followers of Jesus.

The Monday after Easter is the time to follow up with folks who filled out visitor cards. It is the time to encourage attenders to join Bible study groups. It is the time to carry out the discipleship command we have been given. We must strike while the iron is hot.

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