Easter is not like Christmas. The latter tends to go unmentioned for most of the year, then people come out with expectations of hearing familiar content and carols. Easter is the real ground zero of the Christian faith. We tend to, or should, return to it week after week. So what do we do when Easter comes around?
Some might try to get clever at Easter … excessive creativity, abundant gory description, shocking video clips, etc.
Remember that regular church attendees need to hear the basic Easter story. Jesus left his disciples with a frequent reminder, an acted out parable that would help them remember Him: His body given, His blood shed. So don’t think we have to get clever at Easter. Those who know and love the Lord profoundly appreciate a carefully planned biblical presentation of the passion. They will appreciate a Matthew-shaped message, or one in the Mark mold, or Luke’s take, or John’s. They probably won’t even notice a harmonized presentation from multiple gospels. They appreciate Paul’s reflections, or those in Hebrews, or even a glimpse of the Lamb looking as though it had been slain from Revelation. Pick a passage and preach it clearly. No need to be clever. Believers need to hear the ground-zero Easter story.
Remember that visitors need to hear the basic Easter story too. Perhaps it is visitor season as families share holidays together. They may be interested, or they may be being polite. Whatever their motivation, what they need is clear and simple. They don’t need obfuscated “modern art” preaching or a creatively nuanced oblique side-reference to the gospel. Pick a passage and preach it clearly. Everyone needs to hear the Easter story.
I am not advocating being boring or predictable. I am not critiquing creativity. Let’s certainly seek to be as effective as we can be in our communication of Easter. And let’s remember that effective can often mean simply preaching the basics: Take people to ground zero and help them know the significance of what happened there.