I am living in the afterglow of Easter this week. I love Easter. Both the spiritual message of Easter and the family fun and traditions of Easter. Our church had a great day on Sunday, setting a new attendance record in our new church building, the campus overflowing with children everywhere. My Grand kids came and had a blast at our Children's Egg hunt, in spite of rainy weather. I loved it all.
People need the experience of new beginnings in their life, a central message of Easter. They also need the spirit of hope that is fostered by seeing hundreds of children at church with their parents - the dire predictions about the future of the church just don't ring true. Young families with their children love church -- it is a happening place to be!
Every time I hear the predictions about the demise of Christian faith and the decline of church life in America, I recall what my sociology Prof's were saying about marriage in the 70's when I was in College and Grad school. Marriage is history, they said. It will be a thing of the past by the end of the century. The truth is that marriage is more popular than ever. In fact, it is so popular that some folks get married several times! I have conducted more than 360 wedding ceremonies over the years --- and despite all the challenges of being married and staying married, it is still immensely popular. I know people live together and some people don't get married but the ultimate hope of many who are not married is to someday find just the right person and get married.
So when someone says church and Christian faith is history, I listen but I don't panic. There are too many signs that the future is bright -- churches that seek to share the love and grace of God will do well. Certainly there will be challenges, but the message of hope that Easter proclaims still speaks to people. It is a winsome and attractive idea - new life in Jesus, new hope in God, and a new beginning for human beings.
I am in the afterglow and it feels good.
Just thinking, Steve