The Lord blessed our Easter Sunrise Service again this year. That morning the chairs were neatly lined in rows in the grass on the east side of the church. The sound equipment was set up on a folding table and the speakers and microphone were in front on their stands. To anyone driving by, it would have been clear there was a service being held on the lawn. And, since many of the chairs were filled, it was also clear there were people who were committed to worshiping the Lord even when it was early in the morning and the temperature was a little nippy.
As the service began, a turkey’s gobble echoed through the woods across the road, and songbirds welcomed the sun as it rose above the tree-lined horizon. We sang praises to God, proclaimed Christ risen indeed, and heard a message about that morning long ago – when the tomb was found empty; About the joy that spread among those first disciples as they began to understand (and see) what Jesus had told them was true. He had conquered death for them and us!
We closed the service with that joy still in our hearts. As we left to begin breakfast preparations, the able-bodied folks folded up a chair or two and carried them toward the fellowship hall. Like ants, the chair-carriers converged from different directions and formed a single file, slow moving line into the building and around to the storage area. The sound equipment was also packed up and returned inside.
If someone drove by fifteen minutes after the closing prayer, they wouldn’t have seen chairs or people sitting in them – no evidence of a worship service, no evidence of commitment. By that time, the chairs were stacked away, and the bacon and eggs were on the griddles. The joy remained with us, but like the chairs, it was now hidden from the world outside.
Jesus called us to be light of the world (to brighten it) and salt of the earth (to season it with grace). That does happen inside the church building, but to be truly effective, our light and salt should also be evident to those who interact with us outside the church building – including those that just happen to be passing by at a particular time. We have to remember not to leave our joy and our commitment to Christ stacked and stored at the church house, but to always carry them with us as we go out again.
“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:14-16 ESV