Did you have a great time at your church on Easter Sunday? Was there a sense of celebration in the air? Was there excitement? Joy? Maybe even a conscious awareness of the Spirit being poured out? Do you want to capture that vitality week after week? Then preach the resurrection every week. For the good news of Jesus’ resurrection IS the Gospel proclamation. In the gospel is the power of God for salvation. And salvation is not just an intellectual response, it is a rebirth. In that rebirth, resurrection power is released in us. Should we not expect that power to be felt, and its results to be seen every week?
In fact, surely the only reason we meet as churches on a Sunday at all was because the early disciples wanted to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus each week. In that sense every Sunday is resurrection Sunday.
If you want Jesus’ resurrection to become as foundational in your life and your church as the cross is already, hopefully my book Raised With Christ will help a bit.
Many people bought Raised With Christ in the week before Easter. That the book is needed is shown by the fact that many people think of it as an Easter book. The resurrection, like the cross, is something we must celebrate, and contemplate all year round. It is also shown by the fact that many who bought it will not even start to read it.
Ask yourself this, have you ever read a book about the resurrection? If you intended to remedy this before Easter but the business of life crowded out the time you needed to read, then please do not wait till next Easter to read at least one book about the best news the world has ever heard. As I said before Easter, I really won’t be offended if you decide to choose one of the few other books on the resurrection that are out there and not mine. But please, for the sake of your own Christian life, and the life of those who you love, get ahold of a book on this vital subject and read it. If you prefer you can get mine and probably some of the others as an audio book. Ideal if you commute to work.
I almost wish that someone would invent a heresy about the meaning of the resurrection. Then I am sure that more people would devote the time needed to read on this life-changing subject. You will do your faith much more good if you read one of these books on the resurrection than reading the latest controversial best-seller.
Further to the point about the switch to Sunday meetings, this from N.T. Wright:
This is especially noticeable in the remarkable transfer of the special day of the week from the last day to the first day. ‘The Lord’s Day’, John the seer called it; and there is very early evidence of the Christians meeting on the first day of the week. This is hardly to be explained simply on the grounds that they wanted to distinguish themselves from their Jewish neighbours, or that they believed the new creation had begun; or at least, if either of those explanations is offered, they press us quickly back to the question of why they wanted to do the former, or why they believed the latter. The early writers face these questions, and give the obvious answers: Ignatius draws attention to the resurrection as the rationale of the new practice, and Justin connects it with the first day of the new creation. Nor should we minimize the significance of the change. The seventh-day sabbath was so firmly rooted in Judaism as a major social, cultural, religious and political landmark that to make any adjustment in it was not like a modern western person deciding to play tennis on Tuesdays instead of Wednesdays, but like persuading the most devout medieval Roman Catholic to fast on Thursdays instead of Fridays, or the most devout member of the Free Church of Scotland to organize worship on Mondays instead of Sundays. It takes a conscious, deliberate and sustained effort to change or adapt one of the most powerful elements of symbolic praxis within a worldview—not least when the sabbath was one of the three things, along with circumcision and the food laws, that marked out Jews from their pagan neighbours. By far the easiest explanation for all this is that all the early Christians believed that something had happened on that first Sunday morning.
N. T. Wright, The Resurrection of the Son of God (London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, 2003), 579-80.