Yesterday was my favorite Sunday of the year. Easter is without a doubt the most exciting service for a worship arts pastor. We worship at our local high school auditorium for Easter because our worship center is just too small to handle the crowd. A huge stage lets us use elaborate props and scenery. A sound system worth as much as my house is lets our band rock, and for once nobody complains about how loud it is (or about the hip-hop flavor added to one song by an up and coming young worship leader). No shortage of wireless mics means we can have extra singers and add drama to the service without passing mics like they were batons in a relay race. Gifted artists are commissioned to paint or draw especially for the service. Hundreds of adults and as many children fill the auditorium and sing praises to our Risen King.
This Easter, the capstone to our service came during the closing song, Thank You God For Saving Me, by Chris Tomlin and Phil Whickham (see the YouTube video below). It was beautiful. As we sang, scores of people came up onstage holding signs. On the one side they’d written what their lives were like before God saved them. On the other, what their lives were like now. Perhaps the most moving for me, personally, was a teenage girl who wrote “Addicted to Porn” on one side and “Addicted to Him” on the other. Wow!
This morning on my drive to Chicago, I found myself wondering if I’d be as excited about Easter if the circumstances were different. What if I didn’t have a whole band of talented musicians behind me as I led worship? What if we didn’t have the best sound system in town, elaborate scenery, or hundreds of voices singing out? What exactly is it that excites me about Easter? The event, the production, the flash… or the resurrection, the gospel, my Friend and King – Jesus?
As I reflected, I came to the conclusion that even in the most meager of circumstances I would still be excited about Easter Sunday (at least I hope I would). It’s true that the technology and talent, the production and the people are exciting and fun. However, the real celebration of Easter is not how many voices were raised to Jesus, but rather that Jesus himself was raised from the dead! In a smaller service I think I still would’ve ended with Thank You God For Saving Me. It’s quite a simple, yet profoundly moving song. It sums up my heart and the reason why I lead worship and pastor a congregation. Thank you, God, for saving Andy Fuqua.