As we near Easter, my mind seems to turn pretty naturally to the theme of “celebration.” I mean, that’s what Easter is about, right? The tomb is empty which means death held no power over Jesus. So we celebrate – and rightly so! But, to be honest, I believe church Easter gatherings are often the equivalent of skipping to the last chapter of an epic book so we can celebrate the ending. Certainly, the ending merits wholehearted, shout-at-the-top-of-your-lungs celebration. Still, the celebration is cheapened, somehow, by not having engaged and embraced the bigger story.
So, this year at Portico Church we aren’t going to skip to the end of the story. Oh, to be sure, we plan to celebrate. However, we aren’t going to celebrate until we have had the opportunity to engage and embrace the “bigger story.” Therefore, “Easter” at Portico Church will span just over two weeks and encompass three consecutive Sundays beginning on April 13th (Palm Sunday) and concluding on April 27th (Sunday after Easter). I won’t give too many specifics so an element of anticipation will remain but our Journey to Celebration will include:
- Palm Sunday Service (6:00PM, The Palace) – This service will include teaching about the events leading to the cross. We will also receive the Week One Study Guide and be given some instructions for its use.
- Week One Study Guide – To promote an understanding of the events in Jesus’ life during Passion Week through reading, engaging and having conversation about the related Scriptures.
- Maundy Thursday Service (6:00PM. The Palace) – This service will, primarily, be focusing on the great price Christ paid for our sins and taking communion together. It will last less than 30 minutes.
- Easter Sunday Service (6:00PM, The Palace) – This will be an “Anthem” service led by our Creative Team. For those not familiar with an Anthem service, I’ll just say they are usually interactive and always unpredictable as they ask us to confront timeless truths in unexpected ways. We will also receive the Week Two Study Guide and be given some instructions for its use.
- Week Two Study Guide – To promote an understanding of the events in Jesus’ life between the resurrection and the ascension through reading, engaging and having conversation about the related Scriptures.
- Sunday Following Easter (6:00PM, The Palace) – Celebrate Jesus, celebrate!
I am really excited about how we will celebrate Easter this year. I’ll attempt to summarize that excitement this way: The celebration doesn’t make sense without the empty tomb. The empty tomb doesn’t make sense without the cross. The cross doesn’t make sense without the suffering. The suffering doesn’t make sense without the sinless life. Unless the entire story is engaged, celebration simply doesn’t make sense. In fact, absent any portion of the story there really isn’t anything to celebrate!
So start now getting your mind and heart ready for Easter. Be intentional about attending the scheduled services and participating in the Study Guides. Be purposeful about inviting others into and encouraging others along the journey to celebration. And for sure – for one hundred percent, absolutely certain, bet your bottom dollar sure – get ready to celebrate!