Brothers and sisters, missing church on Resurrection Sunday hurts. It has already been painful not to have church for a few Sundays in a row now, but no church on Easter Sunday simply hurts. What makes Easter Sunday unique? Well, to be short, if there was no Easter Sunday then there would not be weekly Sunday gathering at all (Lk 24:1, 6-7). Easter, or Resurrection Sunday is the day we celebrate the Resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in its annual remembrance. Sure, every Sunday is a celebration of Jesus’ resurrection; every Lord’s Day is a statement that our Lord and Savior is risen. Yet, it is Resurrection Sunday that we often slow down to remember, contemplate and celebrate this amazing reality in a heighted way.
Resurrection Sunday is not only a day that Christians celebrate Jesus’ accomplishments on our behalf; It is also a day that we proclaim the good news His death, burial and resurrection brings—the forgiveness of sin (Act 2:38). We proclaim this truth not just to ourselves, but to the many who enter our doors on this blessed day. You see, Resurrection Sunday often brings people who are not Christians into our midst, because even they understand there is something special, meaningful and unique about this Sunday. My friends it hurts to miss the opportunity to proclaim the good news we possess both to each other and to the lost.
Moreover, Resurrection Sunday is a day we live the gospel. Because of the heightened celebration and proclamation that Easter brings, we remind ourselves and one another to further invest in our response of faith and repentance to our beloved Lord whom we celebrate. In fact, the pinnacle of our celebration, enjoyment, even worship is our response of faith and repentance—our living response to the gospel.
But make no mistake, though there will not be church this coming Sunday, we will still celebrate Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection; we will still proclaim the gospel; we will still live out our response to that good news! We simply will not be doing it as a congregation and that reality hurts, it hurts deeply.
So, what are we to do with our mourning of such a loss? We are to let it hurt. We must not ease our longing with thoughts of a livestream, rather we must long to be together again. We must long to sit together under the teaching of God’s word; we must long to partake of the Lord’s table once again; we must long to see each other face to face as we celebrate the resurrection, proclaim its impact and live in response to it.
Please do not misunderstand. I appreciate the livestream and value it highly, even as I have watched it weekly. But a livestream is not church and cannot replace the local assembly. I am simply recognizing the hurt that rightfully comes with such a loss. I am recognizing the hurt, so that we would let the hurt drive us to prayer, bring us to stronger commitments and instill in us a greater appreciation for that gathering which we greatly miss. Friends, the degree to which this loss hurts us directly correlates to the degree we value gathering together as a church—Oh how it should hurt even beyond the present pain!
I long to once again see your faces when we gather to celebrate, to proclaim and to live that wonderful gospel truth—He is risen, He is risen Indeed! Nothing will change this truth, not even the absence of a corporate gathering. What a joy in the midst of the greatest sorrows!