One of the memorable moments of seminary was in a class on worship. I can still remember all these years later the professor saying “Every Sunday is a little Easter.” I had never heard it before. If I had, it had not left an impression. Every Sunday a little Easter. Wow.
Today is one week or so after Easter. I have been off work all week and have had some time to think. Is this true? Is the church’s central conviction on Sunday morning (or for that matter whenever the church gathers to worship) that this day – this time of worship – is a little Easter?
I am unsure. And I am unsure how faithfully I have lived into that epiphany in my own life and faith and ministry.
One of my favorite quotes about the church comes from author Annie Dillard. I have written and spoken about it previously. But I share it anew as part of this reflection on the power of the Resurrection about which she is ultimately writing:
“Why do people in church seem like cheerful, brainless tourists on a packaged tour of the Absolute? … Does anyone have the foggiest idea what sort of power we blithely invoke? Or, as I suspect, does no one believe a word of it? The churches are children playing on the floor with their chemistry sets, mixing up a batch of TNT to kill a Sunday morning. It is madness to wear ladies’ straw hats and velvet hats to church; we should all be wearing crash helmets. Ushers should issue life preservers and signal flares; they should lash us to our pews. For the sleeping god may wake someday and take offense, or the waking god may draw us to where we can never return.”
—Annie Dillard, Teaching a Stone to Talk: Expeditions and Encounters (New York: Harper & Row, 1982), pp. 40-41.