Evangelicals (I include myself in this category) love to “celebrate Jesus” on Sunday mornings. More and more churches seem to be moving toward this kind of language to describe what happens during corporate worship. I’m not convinced it’s a good thing.
Now I’m not saying Jesus, and the infinitely good news associated with his death and resurrection, is unworthy of our celebration. But I do worry that “celebrate” is an inadequate word to describe the response we should have to the Lord of the universe.
Take, for example, the reaction of the guards when they came upon the angel at the empty tomb: “And for fear of him the guards trembled and became like dead men” (Matt. 28:4). The response to an angel was fear, trembling and, then, what I’m assuming was utter paralysis (i.e., like dead men). And this upon seeing an angel – a created being.
It made me wonder, What will it be like when we see Jesus?
There will be, I imagine, a sense of celebration. However, I think our idea of celebration is too often like fans at a sporting event: we will cheer and yell and maybe do the wave
for our Savior. But this can’t possibly be how we will respond to the Christ. It’s too chipper; too trite.
We will be no less overwhelmed than the guards upon seeing an angel. Indeed, we will be more so. How that looks I’m not exactly sure, but it’s a sobering thought. And one I think should influence what we do on Sunday mornings – and throughout the week.