With You… For You by Stewart Perry

Coming up with a theme for Easter & Christmas services is as much about trying to think of something that will grab the attention of those occasional church goers & the wider community as it is about thinking of something meaningful & profound that will resonate with those who actually come along to the services. We don’t do a lot of marketing & advertising for our services but what we aim for is for what we do produce to be something that makes someone engaged or interested.

This year we’ve chosen the theme: ‘Easter with you, Easter for you’.

We want people to be thinking that Easter is both an opportunity to do something as a wider group of people & not just by yourself or your immediate family & friends. Easter is one of those times of year that makes most impact when it is done in community & it’s no surprise that I think that the best type of community to celebrate Easter with is the Church. That’s the “with you” part…

We also hope & pray that those who attend our Easter & Holy Week Services will have a real encounter with God, that they will have a revelation that Jesus’ journey from cross to empty tomb, from death to resurrection was for you & it was for me. Because of what happens at Easter we have a direct & intimate relationship with God through Jesus Christ. That’s the “for you” bit…

But wait… there’s more…

If we just left it at “with you” & “for you” that would be more aligned with our entertainment, self-focused & consumeristic world. We don’t want people to leave our Easter & Holy Week services with only the thought that this was just about making them feel better about themselves & have an enjoyable & meaningful experience. We do want all that but we are praying that for both our regular church members as well as our visitors & occasional church goers, they will be able to move from the personal experience to something more… what we’re not making express in our theme, but hope that the message of Easter & the ways it’s presented will make it clear, that it’s not just with you & for you, it is also for others.

That’s the Holy Trinity of Easter if you like – Easter with you, Easter for you, Easter for others.

I love Archbishop William Temple’s famous quote: “The Church is the only society that exists for the benefit of those who are not its members.”

Easter is not just for the those who come to church, it is to mobilise those who come to church to be active in the world for the benefit of others. That’s a message you don’t hear anywhere else in our world at the moment.

I really hope to share Easter with you, I pray that you realise that Easter is for you but most of all I pray that you will be so stirred & moved by Easter this year that it turns our focus away from ourselves & our own personal experience & comfort & toward the welfare of others, which might actually come at a cost to us, it may make us a little bit uncomfortable at times.

Perhaps we could start right now & think of how we might make the journey from now until Easter Day something that makes us uncomfortable or costs us something significant for the benefit of others. It was the distinctive character of the early church & I pray it can become the distinctive character of our church.