In some ways Easter is not like Christmas. The Christmas story tends to remain largely unmentioned for eleven months of the year. So when the advent season comes round again people expect to hear the basic Christmas story. But the events of the first Easter get mentioned and preached on throughout the year. So there is a temptation for us as preachers to try and get clever with our Easter messages – perhaps hyper-creative, or super-subtle, or whatever.
Our regular listeners need to hear the basic Easter story. Jesus told his followers to share bread and wine, “in remembrance” of Him. In a sense the Easter story never grows old for Christ’s followers – it means too much to us. So as a preacher don’t feel pressure from somewhere to say something that is somehow clever or different. There are plenty of biblical passages that can be used, and people will appreciate a clear preaching of any of them.
Remember that irregular listeners need to hear the basic Easter story. At Easter time there is a higher likelihood of visitors. Maybe they feel they should go to church at Christmas and again at Easter. Maybe they are visiting family who go to your church and politely join their hosts. These people don’t need some kind of creatively opaque and nuanced message. They need the message of the text clearly presented and applied.
As a preacher you may be feeling the pressure to do something different this year. I’m not suggesting we should be boring or predictable. I’m not saying that creativity is inappropriate. Let us be as effective as possible in our communication of the biblical message of Easter. However, let’s remember that sometimes it is very effective to simply preach the basics – the story from the text, the implications for us today.
2 thoughts on “Preaching Easter (Pt1): Back to Basics”
Thank you for this post! Some local pastors invited me a few weeks ago to preach at the community sunrise service on Easter. It will be by far the largest crowd I’ve ever preached to and will have quite a few pastor and long-time Christians there. My initial impulse was that I’d better preach the best sermon I’ve ever preached, and I was intimidated. Then I felt led to simply walk through Mark 16:1-8. The basic Easter story. This post of yours was very comforting and reassuring to read. Thank you so much!
I really appreciate this posting as well. It seems the times I get myself in the most trouble are when I abandon the basics of preaching the Word and try to get too creative.
Today, I preached a Palm Sunday message straight from Mat 22 using the Parable of the Wedding Feast. After years of trying to ‘do something different’ on Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday, I got the mot enthusiastic response ever from just sticking to an exposition of the text.