Tuesday morning I engaged in one of my yearly rituals; Easter clean-up. You see, for most pastors, Holy Week is the busiest week of your entire church year. There are extra services, extra practices and Easter Sunday itself is often composed of different elements than one would traditionally have on any other Sunday. So by the time all of this is finished, it’s usually Tuesday morning before I even begin to think about clearing out the random collection in my office or the extra pageantry from the platform. One of the most arduous tasks here in Odessa each year is the removal of our cross from the stage. I only say this because our cross is probably about 8 feet tall and made of 4 X 6 beams which amounts to roughly about 80lbs plus of wood. It’s also supported by a solid metal base into which it drops about a foot…I sometimes wish there was a hidden camera of me trying to remove this cross each year. It would probably go viral. But nonetheless, each year I put the cross back into storage until it’s time to bring it out for Holy Week again the following year.
It’s almost like it’s a sign of some of those who show up annually for Easter Sunday. This isn’t meant to be a slam at those who come to church once a year, but I sometimes wonder how they do it. How do they make it through life when you’re only here for Easter? Yes, it is the definitive day and moment in the life of the church, but it doesn’t stop there. It even gets me thinking about how I put away the cross each year, but that also doesn’t stop there (side note: luckily in our church we have a lot of other crosses as a constant reminder of our identity). The apostle Paul wrote this in speaking to the church in Corinth, “We always carry Jesus’ death around in our bodies so that Jesus’ life can also be seen in our bodies.” – II Corinthians 4:10 We always carry around with us the cross in order for the life of Christ to be seen in us.
And that to me is kind of what the life of the church enables me to do. Why do I come week after week after week and not just on Easter? Because I need to be reminded of who I am. I need to be reminded that I am called to carry in me the cross/death of Christ so that the life of Christ may be lived out in me every day. And I can’t do that on my own. I need my church to help me. I need my church to remind me. And I need my church because it is a weekly realization that I am not alone in this. As we gather to worship each week we are reminded that this life we are trying to live is bigger than any one individual. We belong to the Body of Christ. So may you be encouraged today. May you be challenged to continue to carry on. And may you find yourself connected to a body of believers that weekly remind you of who you truly are.