One of the most important things that marked the very first Easter Celebration in history was Surprise. It was a surprise that Jesus chose Passover to make a big theological statement during Passover (most of his contemporaries thought Jesus would do something big during Roshashan - Atonement). It was a surprise that Jesus actually was killed on a cross (his followers thought he was bluffing or mistaken, right up until the very end). It was certainly a surprise that Jesus came back from the dead after three days, as he said he would.
This year, Highlands Church is trying recapture some of the surprise that represented that first Easter. To this end, we are trying two new ideas. First, we are having a Maundy Wednesday worship service instead of a Maundy Thursday service. For practical reasons this works better for us, because we already have a well attended Wednesday night service. Also, Maundy Wednesday sticks in the mind a little more easily (it's out of the box). We are also introducing an Easter Sunset Service (instead of an Easter Sunrise Service) on the Saturday night before Easter. Again, other churches are doing Easter Sunrise, we are focussed on Surprise and newness.
When modern day Christ followers get too locked into tradition, ritual and thoughtless ceremony, we lose a sense of surprise. God wants us to remain surprised about life, the things of God, the resurrection. Surprise leads to joy and joy leads to newness and faithfulness.
How has God surprised you lately?
All for now,