Easter Sunday Isn’t Like the Others

The long Lenten journey to the cross and ultimately the empty tomb is nearly finished, and Easter is just around the corner. The warming temperatures and blooming trees have me anticipating Easter more than usual this year, especially because it falls relatively late in the calendar.

As a child, Easter meant uncomfortable new clothes, Easter baskets, and photo shoots. It has come to mean so much more. As much as I try to give my full attention to worship each Sunday, Easter Sunday can’t help but be more impactful than the rest.

Based on my recent ruminations, these are five ways Easter Sunday is different for me:

Bigger crowds. Let’s start with the obvious. It’s well established that attendance is higher on Easter Sunday than almost any other service of the year, with the possible exception of Christmas Eve. It’s been more than four years ago now, but I have previously written about accepting those who only show up on Easter and how our response to their attendance reveals more about us than them. Having more people attend church certainly sets the day apart and magnifies the stakes. Prayerful participation by the faithful attenders is even more important on Easter.

Sunrise service. Not everyone participates in this tradition, but as I’ve written about before, Easter can feature two worship services before noon. While it definitely makes the day feel different, it’s only as special as you let be.

Family photo after church. For families with small children, getting a picture with everyone in their new Easter clothes adds a stressful dimension to the day. Horror of horrors if the children’s Sunday school department serves chocolate doughnuts to the kids before you get your annual family portrait. It warms my heart to see families find scenic spots around the church for a photo, even if not everyone is looking the right way or if someone’s shirt is untucked.

Singing in a higher key. I’m not the best singer, and my range is only about three notes. But what I’ve noticed is all the celebratory resurrection-themed hymns are sung in a higher key. I think I understand the reasons the music is in the upper register, but it doesn’t help me stay on pitch. Singing “He Lives!” is an important component of my Easter worship, even if I crack a few notes.

Focus on the miraculous. If we’re not careful, we can explain away all of God’s work in the world today. Easter is one of the few times we build the entire service around a miracle with implications for the whole world. Our embracing the miracle of Christ’s resurrection means God can still work miracles in our lives today. I like exploring the mystery of the resurrection and what it means for all of us.

What makes Easter special for you? Leave a comment and share what makes Easter different for your church family. Happy Easter! He is risen!

Lance Wallace is a Baptist layperson and member of Parkway Baptist Church in Johns Creek, GA, does media relations and issues management at his day job, and blogs at newsouthessays.com.

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