Tony Campolo’s famous sermon is classic. (It is actually his version of an unnamed black preacher’s sermon who apparently wasn’t fortunate enough to have it recorded). If you haven’t heard it – here’s a 3-minute excerpt. You won’t be sorry.
We will celebrate Good Friday this year with a collaborative Night of Worship along with a couple other Vineyard Churches who are joining us. Well, maybe I should rephrase.
On Good Friday, we won’t exactly be celebrating; we will remember.
On Sunday we will celebrate!
on Friday, the world was dark – but Sunday’s a’comin.
On Friday, we, like the disciples, wonder what is happening – but Sunday’s a’comin.
On Friday, we might worry about who will land in the White House – but Sunday’s a’comin.
On Friday, we fret over our children, our careers, our bank accounts – but Sunday’s a’comin.
On Friday, we may be unsettled about terrorism, world hunger, injustice in our communities, our limited resources to fix anything – but Sunday’s a’comin.
If we are wise we may realize that:
on Friday, we agonize over our own sinfulness – but Sunday’s a’comin.
on Friday, we may struggle to forgive those who have betrayed us, wounded us, intimidated us, slandered us – but Sunday’s a’comin.
on Friday we might wonder how God can put up with us – but Sunday’s a’comin.
on Friday we will consider God’s great sacrifice for us and realize Sunday’s a’comin.
on Friday, we will come with open fists and open hearts because Sunday’s a’comin.
on Friday, we will take the bread and the cup and remember Jesus’ death on the cross, but we will anticipate that Sunday’s a’comin.
And Sunday will come. And we will celebrate!
Sunday actually hinges on Friday. Celebration is empowered by memory. Celebration is inspired by anticipation of remembering something worthy of honor.
In the NIV, the word “celebrate” shows up some 68 and all but 4 of those times are in the old testament where God keeps setting up festivals and feasts and parties and celebrations to remember.
The whole community of Israel must celebrate it.
I absolutely love this. God even has to command the entire community of Israel to celebrate. They MUST celebrate it. Be happy, dang it. Blow your horn. Sing a song. Bring a sacrifice. It’s gonna be great. If your head and heart aren’t in it yet, get them there!
Because at the heart of remembering is to not forget.
Don’t forget his good promises.
Don’t forget who God is.
Don’t forget to honor him with our tithes and offerings.
Don’t forget to tell our children about him.
Don’t forget to invite others to know what we know.
Don’t forget to serve one another daily.
Don’t forget what God has done for us.
If you consider how we celebrate – we celebrate things that are worthy of our memory.
We celebrate victory over darkness.
We celebrate hope over despair.
As I read the gospels, I am also aware of how Jesus teaches us to celebrate.
He instructs the disciples to tell somebody.
If you have something worth celebrating, why are you keeping it to yourself? Celebration on your own is fairly empty. Celebration usually involves others who can share your joy. In the case of the Easter message of forgiveness, we don’t just invite others to weigh in our joy – we invite them to experience their own joy. We invite others to come to Jesus, surrender their tired lives to him, and celebrate what he has done for them.
On Easter we are invited do more than wear pretty dresses, rock our bow ties, hunt Easter eggs, eat chocolate bunnies, and consume radioactive marshmallow peeps.
We are invited to “Go tell it on the mountain.”
That is how we can truly celebrate what God has done for us.