March 27th — tomorrow — is Easter Sunday in case you haven’t noticed all the pastel bunnies at the grocery store. Instead of sleeping in with the kids and finding plastic eggs filled with melted candy, try something different: go to church even if you don’t like going to church. Here’s why.
- Easter is at the very heart of Christianity. Ever feel like you’ve walked into a movie that’s already halfway over when you go to church? The preacher might be using words that you’ve never heard in regular life – like “sovereignty” and “sanctification?” Well, Easter is so “at the heart” of the gospel message, it’s more likely than ever that the preacher will start from the beginning and things might begin to make sense.
- It’s great to have traditions with your spouse and family. According to the Art of Manliness, “Researchers have consistently found that families that engage in frequent traditions report stronger connection and unity than families that haven’t established rituals together. Traditions provide an all-too-rare chance for face-to-face interaction, help family members get to know and trust each other more intimately, and create a bond that comes from feeling that one is part of something unique and special.”
- How you respond to the Easter message will determine the rest of your life. Okay, so it is a matter of life and death. As Warren Mainard wrote, “Your response to the resurrection of Jesus will literally define every aspect of your life, death and eternity.” Unlike at Christmas, where the service might get bogged down in sentimentality, the message of Easter — the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus — will “determine your hope for your future, define your perspective of your past, deliver peace for your present, and even defy death in your eternity.”
Here are some tips for the actual service:
- People usually “dress up” for the service, but don’t let your lack of a frilly dress stop you from going. On “Easter Sunday,” people usually take the opportunity to dress is bold, bright colors to symbolize new life. If you feel like you don’t have something appropriate to wear, just pick something out that is nice, modest, and clean — Jesus won’t care, as he was not “dressed to the nines” at the Resurrection either.
- Get there early. There are many people out there right now making Easter plans as well. In addition to the regular people who go to church every Sunday, you’ll have newcomers checking out the scene as well. Get there at least fifteen minutes early so you don’t end up sitting on the awkward first row.
- Realize that the church will be full of people who feel as odd as you do being in a church. Sometimes on “holy days,” people judge the church too harshly. “Well, I went to the Christmas Eve Service, but no one talked to me at all.” This might be due to the fact that there are so many visitors that it’s hard to tell whom to greet and who’s “regular.” (Also you might be seated next to people who seem like uninterested church goers, who are also just visitors.) Just don’t go expecting to have the full “Dale Carnegie” hospitality extended. But, on the other hand…
- People might be excessively friendly. On “holy days,” regular church goers are super excited to see visitors. If you are hoping to go in unnoticed, it might be the case that people surround you asking where you live and what you do. Just relax, accept the hospitality, and try to find a seat in the back.
As you think about what kind of church to attend, you’ll probably select one based on whether you know someone at that church, or if it’s close to your house. No matter if you choose a casual, megachurch or a traditional throw back, the message of the resurrection of Jesus Christ is one you need to hear.