Easter 2019 at Ren Church, Providence
Do you have plans for Easter? If not join us at Ren Church on Sunday – two services with kids programming at 9am and 11am!
Letter to the uncertain
Easter. It’s an interesting tradition that, for me, conjures up childhood memories of blooming flowers, hunting for chocolate eggs, dressing up in my best colorful clothes and getting a stomach ache from eating too many marshmallow bunnies. I have some sweet memories of attending church in a large cathedral and feeling a certain excitement in the air but it wasn’t until my young adult years that I really understood what Easter was all about. Oh I was excited at Easter but I think it was mostly because there was going to be a lot of really delicious food to eat and I’d probably get to stay up late playing poker with the adults. What kid wouldn’t be excited about that?
I’m now 51 and I’ve developed a deep appreciation of the meaning of Easter. The holiday itself isn’t even something the Bible tells us to celebrate—that’s a long story—but for most Christians, it’s a time to reflect on the death and resurrection of Jesus. It’s one of my very favorite times of the year, as a pastor, because everyone is thinking about the most important events in human history!
I am, however, painfully aware, especially as a New Englander, that the majority of people around me don’t really buy into the Easter story. It seems to many people like an idle tale. It’s a nice little story some Christians made up 2000 years ago and it seems to give people hope. Many people have at least some measure of knowledge about Jesus but conclude, at best, that he was a good guy, a compelling teacher that for some mysterious reason has had a popularity that’s gone viral. I’ve observed that many people think Jesus is interesting but just find it hard to believe that he’s God—that he was actually raised from the dead and is now seated on the throne of God. I mean, c’mon, that’s pretty unbelievable!
Over the last month I’ve thought a lot about what to share on Easter Sunday. It’ll be on the resurrection, of course! But what exactly should I say about the resurrection? I keep thinking about people who, deep down, are genuinely uncertain. I think about people I know who have been exposed to Christianity, and may even attend a church, but the whole thing just doesn’t seem real. They are actually kind of confused by it. They have serious doubts. They just can’t see clearly. My message Sunday will encourage everyone but it will particularly encourage the person struggling to believe.
Maybe you weren’t planning on even going to church Sunday because you don’t believe. Or because you aren’t one of those serious followers of Jesus. Maybe you just feel like a hypocrite singing songs about a resurrection that you aren’t even sure happened. Listen, I totally get that. I respect that you don’t want to be fake. But church is not just for believers. It’s for doubters. I want to invite you to come and bring with you all your doubts, all your questions, all your struggles, all your imperfections. Just come as you are.
Our service is about 90 minutes. It’ll start with 20 minutes of songs about God. Some people sing, some don’t. You can just listen if you aren’t ready to sing. Lots of people just listen so you won’t feel out of place. My message usually takes about 30-40 minutes on Easter. That may seem long but there will be so much emotion and animation in it that the time will fly by. After the message there will be a couple more songs to give everyone some time to process. Our communion tables are open for those who want to partake of the bread and wine to remember the broken body and shed blood of Jesus for the sins of the world. Again, you don’t have to participate in that if you aren’t ready. We try to make our services comfortable for those who are not familiar with church.
What can happen if you come on Sunday is that your doubts may fade away and you see the reality of Christ. I’m not only going to show you that God is merciful and patient with those who doubt but I’m going to show you how to experience God in such a way that your heart becomes fully persuaded that Christ is risen. And that because he is risen we no longer fear death!
So if you were not planning on coming to church, or were on the fence about coming, I want to encourage you. I’m confident that something good will happen if you just come with an open heart.
Our Easter services will be at 9am and 11am. If you have children 0 to 5th grade we have full kids programming at both services. Our welcome team can guide you if you’ve never been to Ren Church before. For peace of mind to parents, our kids areas are very secure and we have a team of trained men who serve on security protecting those areas. You are also welcome to keep your children with you during the service. There’s a small room off the sanctuary for nursing moms as well. Parking is easy. We have a lot behind the building, as well as, across the street at Crossroads. We are located at 184 Broad Street across from the Classical High football field.
If you have any questions at all about the services feel free to email me (Pastor Scott) at email@example.com or email Becky, our ministries director at firstname.lastname@example.org. Check out our websites www.renchurchri.org and www.citylovepvd.org for more information about what we are all about.
Hope to see you Sunday!!!