We’re still basking in the glow. Maybe we’re exhausted from the excesses of the Easter celebration. Maybe even the choir wants a week off. Maybe the associate pastor is preaching. But we’re still celebrating, or we should be. Notice the day is named “Second Sunday of Easter.” That “of” is important. We are Easter people. All of our worship is Resurrection worship. We continue to proclaim that Christ is Risen when we gather for worship during this season. Well, yes, we can proclaim that all year long because every Sunday is Easter Sunday.
The epistle text for this week lends itself to being paraphrased into a creedal statement or affirmation of faith for the whole congregation to recite together. There is a proclamation quality to these words and to this day. But the mood of worship is one of celebration and joy. Yes, we are tired, and we don’t have the holiday spirit enervating everyone. But still, we celebrate. Still, we sing praise because the shocking hope of Easter becomes the living hope of week-by-week worship and work. So, while we celebrate with the same enthusiasm and passion as we did on Easter, we are also beginning to teach how we live that joy. We are beginning to explore the implications of being disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world that doesn’t really want transformation. This is why it is good we are working in a church that doesn’t really want transformation either. We get to practice living out of this hope in this community so that we can then be the proclaimers to the rest of the world.
So, we worship completely, engaged, and focused on the worship moment, complete in and of itself. But with what do we send folks out from worship? What gifts, what questions, what suggestions go with those who have worshiped with you today? How is the living hope enacted in their lives day by day? Let the worship team be haunted by this question throughout this Eastertide series. Remember that worship doesn’t end with the benediction; it continues into the rest of life and continues – or revives – when we gather again. Worship is a way of living and being, not simply an action we perform. This series is an opportunity to help communities rethink what it means to have a living hope throughout our lives. Encourage the fulness of joy in this worship moment and in the worship moments that will follow.
Rev. Dr. Derek Weber, Director of Preaching Ministries, served churches in Indiana and Arkansas and the British Methodist Church. His PhD is from University of Edinburgh in preaching and media. He has taught preaching in seminary and conference settings for more than 20 years.