Easter – the most important of Christian holidays. Without the Truths of Easter there would be no Christianity, no Christmas and no reason to attend houses of Christian worship. Without what Easter stands for there would only be the need for some to assemble as social clubs, hoping for better days while attempting to comfort and encourage each other. Humans without hope are doomed to despair and loneliness. But Easter is all about hope.
The word Easter is not a Biblical Christian term, of course, but everyone understands what is meant by that word. It’s the number one day each year for high church attendance. Easter and Christmas Sundays are the two top days for attending church services (Mother’s Day is number three). Most of these extra attendees, on these particular days, are lovingly referred to as “C&E” Christians. My question would be, “Why attend church only on these two days?” The answer has many facets and I will try and address a few.
C&E Christians have some interesting characteristics. They seem to be the nominal church attender, who would not hesitate to declare, “Yes, I am a Christian.” Maybe they believe that attending a church service makes them a Christian. It does, in the same way as being in a garage would make one an automobile.
C&E Christians come to church in their Easter finest, with smiles and acknowledgement of greetings from parishioners, enjoy the music and endure the pastor’s message and head for Luby’s as soon as they can hit the parking lot. Whew! Off the hook for another year!
I had a lady tell me, just today that she went to Mass on Good Friday and it took 15 to 20 minutes to get out of the parking lot! So, on Easter Sunday, she will get to the church very early so she can get a perfect parking space and choice seat in order to hit the road as quickly as possible at the earliest possible moment. Not to be judgmental, but does this seem to smack of misplaced priorities?
The C&E Christians would have a difficult time convincing others that they are actually Christian, in the truest sense. I would suggest that most would attend these church services each year to please a parent, mother-in-law or close friend. But being enrolled in a Bible study group, involved in any ministry or just reading the Bible is not particularly on their radar.
Statistics today are shocking: 48% of Americans are “Post-Christian,” which is to say that God plays no part in their daily lives. Only 37% of Americans say that they trust the spiritual leadership of the church. 59% of Millennials believe pornography is acceptable. 69% of American church attendees believe everyone will go to Heaven. Two thirds of the churches in America are in decline and experiencing no growth. Over 90% of practicing Christians are not comfortable talking about spiritual things with their grandchildren. 75% of teenagers, raised in Christian homes, abandon the faith at the university level.
American Christian – This ain’t the Norman Rockwell country of days gone by – bye, bye. And, while we are being judgmental, let’s lay the blame where is should be – at the feet of we Christian parents and grandparents, who have dropped the ball by not nailing down principles and truths in the hearts of our young about ‘why we believe what we believe’ before turning them loose on a world that will eat them for lunch.
We have heard the C&E’s say church is boring and they do not like ‘organized religion,’ and ‘I can worship on the lake just as good as I can in church.’ (Technically, yes you can. But we must ask, do you?) As one pastor friend of mine says, “Excuses are like doorknobs. Everyone has a house full of them.”
With all that said, the church in America is sucking wind, big time. It is so easy for church administrators and committees to stay busy with things that are urgent in the immediate such as facility upgrades, worship style, etc., and too often pass up the urgent, understanding that the priority is that parishioners be grounded in the Scriptures for their daily lives.
I dare say the average church member in America would not be able to explain why the resurrection of Christ is so important and how to defend that belief with facts. They love to hear the pastor preach the Easter sermon, but could not take a point in his sermon and defend it against an atheistic or agnostic view.
Christian, I encourage you to get serious about what you say you believe. Get some basic facts that strengthen your faith and some boldness to stand for what you believe. We began by saying that Easter is about hope. Yes, it is and it is the greatest hope this world has ever or will ever know. Tell somebody about it, for crying out loud! If the resurrection is true, nothing is more important.
Tell them how reliable the New Testament documents are. Show them how we have early eyewitness testimony that saw, spoke with, ate meals with and touched the resurrected Christ. I would think that a man who predicted his own death and the exact day that He would come back to life and was witnessed by so many should be taken seriously! We are Christians because the Bible records the historical facts that are just as, and more so, verifiable as other ancient facts and documents.
Today’s Christians must take this good news to people everywhere before it is too late. I don’t know about you, but I’m sticking with the man that has said He would do it and has done it! Get some passion and commitment for your faith! America needs you!