I have to admit to some quaint ideas. I still feel an inner warmth and get a little misty-eyed when I see a picture of a family walking to church on a spring morning. In these warm fantasies the sun is always shining, birds sing, and the walk is lined with daffodils. The trees are in the tender bud of spring and church bells ring in the distance.
Dad is wearing a suit. Mom is in a beautiful Easter dress, her hair “just so”. The boys have wiggled into dress shirts and clip-on ties like miniature men. They are wearing manly navy blazers. Their hair is slicked over and perfect except for the rebel cow lick standing defiantly up like bristles on a wire brush. Their sisters have frilly dresses with bows and lace and bonnets and even white gloves with matching purse and shoes. Everyone who can read is carrying a Bible.
After church the family will eat together, usually ham, and then there will be an Easter egg hunt. The little ones will run all over the back yard, as if they were searching for gold, hunting eggs they have no intention of eating. Mom will snap pictures. Dad will film the event. Grandma will laugh until she cries. Grandpa will hold the baby.
I know that for most of us the picture is not quite so perfect and you may see things differently. This is America so you have every right to your own opinion, but I think there will still be hope for our land as long as Moms are willing to do what has to be done to make Easter special. The enemies of our great country have no weapon that can defeat a people who are devoted to God. I know we are up against lunatic terrorists but my money is still on determined and devoted mothers.
I love it when I see people dress up special on Easter Sunday. Don’t misunderstand, I am glad when anyone comes to church plain or fancy. I know there are whole sects of Christian people who have eschewed any finery. I respect them for that but I think the Lord is honored when I dress in my finest for an audience with Him, even if all it means is a little extra starch in my shirt and some fresh polish on my shoes.
I’ve seen people worship God enthusiastically in jeans, a T-shirt and a ball cap. I’ve seen dozens of guys in full Harley regalia weeping and singing and shouting Amen. (I have a pastor friend who has a Harley in his office). But my heart is always warmed to look out on Easter Sunday morning and watch a family walking across the parking lot, Bibles in hand in their “Sunday-go-to-meetin’ clothes.
It doesn’t have to cost a lot. I have a closet full of dress shirts, dress slacks, sport coats that I purchased at used clothing stores for a few dollars each. I bought a perfect navy suit to speak to a group of a few thousand men at a used clothing store for twelve dollars. My favorite wool blazer was seven dollars. The dress slacks I have on now I bought for four dollars. I am wearing a new dress shirt that cost only three dollars.
I know this requires a great effort, especially on mom’s part, but the effort it takes to get ready for church is itself an act of devotion. It is a part of our worship. All the work that it takes to get the family to church says something important to our children. It tells them that the things of God are important to us. It shows that we are devoted to worship. It creates a tradition that our children and our grandchildren will cherish after we are gone.
It would be a sad day in our land if the church bells were silent and the pews were empty on Easter Sunday. It would be a dark, sad land if the organ no longer played “Christ the Lord is Risen Today” and if families didn’t worship together on Easter. It would be the greatest of tragedies if pastors didn’t stand up on Easter Sunday morning all across our land and proclaim that Jesus is alive. If Easter became just another day, America would be weak at its foundation. But I’m confident that the mothers of America will never let that happen. If you don’t believe me just get out into the stores on the weekend before Easter and watch them trying to outfit their children for church.
I hope the fathers of America never let that happen. Little boys need to see their dad moved to tears over a hymn. They need to see that his passion for God is greater than his enthusiasm about March Madness. Every little girl needs a daddy who loves God.
If all up and down this great land of ours from Florida to Alaska and from New Mexico to Maine the church bells continue to ring, terrorists will never defeat us. As long as moms stay up late sewing Easter dresses and dads teach their boys to shine their shoes and wash the family car for church, our nation will endure. Our greatest defense is the blessing of God.
If you are asking me my opinion, I say put on your best, whatever it is, gather your family together and come celebrate the Resurrection at church this Easter Sunday. Get here early and we’ll try to save you a good seat. Oh, and bring the whole family.