Give Them the News

It is early on a Sunday morning. Your alarm goes off and you fight the urge to hit the snooze button. You are up far earlier than a normal Sunday because this Sunday is different. It is a special day. You need to wake up early to have time to shower, put on your newly purchased pastel shirt and matching tie, or your never-worn sundress that was purchased for this exact occasion. Then, you need to brush your teeth, wash your face, and make sure you look in pristine condition. You walk out the door and the sun has yet to crack over the horizon. You leave a little earlier than usual to make sure you can get a seat. You don’t want to miss your favorite service of the year; this whole week has led up to this moment and you haven’t missed a second. You went to Maundy Thursday, and Good Friday, and you were fully prepared for that beautiful sunrise Easter service. 

You stand singing “Jesus Christ is Risen Today” as you are filled with emotion and goosebumps raise on your arms while you watch the processional cross. You participate in the celebratory liturgy of the Resurrection. You hear the Scriptures read, and you settle in for the sermon. But something strange happens during the sermon. The pastor spends the entirety of his 18 minutes doing something you didn’t expect. He spends his entire time in the pulpit trying to convince you that Jesus rose from the dead. You get scientific evidence about the crucifixion; you hear different myths and theories that have come up in history as to disprove the Resurrection and your Pastor gives you seven points as to why they aren’t possible. Ultimately, the Pastor spends his whole time trying to prove to you logically, and reasonably, and convince you that Jesus rose from the dead that first Easter. It’s almost as if the pastor doesn’t think you believe it. 

We have all heard a sermon like this once in our lives. Or endured a Lenten sermon series called “Myth Busters” (or something along those lines) where the goal is to use reason to destroy any doubt in God’s people. But ultimately, it feels like the pastor doesn’t think that the hearers who have put on their best and gone through the services of Holy Week, buy into the resurrection. So this is my post-Easter reflection and encouragement to anyone – pastors preaching, Christians debating, and those who strive to convince – stop trying to prove it, but instead just give them the news. 

This is what we have been tasked with, as pastors, as church workers, and simply as Christians. It is not our job to go out and save the church. It is not our job to go and convince anyone what we believe is true. It is not our job to argue people into the faith. But instead, our job is simple. Far simpler than we often think it is. Our job is to simply give people the news, tell them what has happened. Share God’s word with them. Deliver to them the good news. It is always amazing how many people go to church on Easter Sunday. Sure, some of them may be skeptical, some of them may just be there to make mom happy, some may just be there because it is what they have always done. But everyone is there, everyone is listening, so give them the news. Let the Holy Spirit do his work, don’t complicate it. Simply tell them what has happened and get out of the way.

So, dear Christian, let me share this news with you. Christ is risen! He is risen, indeed! Alleluia!