Pastor Jim Stultz
The Sadness of an Empty Church
Updated: May 8
People all over the world are dealing with the consequences brought on by the Covid 19 outbreak. One of the things that is difficult for believers in Christ is that they are not allowed to gather together as they normally do on Sundays. We are so thankful for live streaming and other technologies that help us to be able to hear the Word of God and even sing and worship the Lord. Live streaming is great but it is just not the same as being together in person with God’s people. Easter is by far my favorite holiday of the year. I look forward to a full church singing praises to God and declaring in unison: “He is not here, He is risen just as He said”. This Easter is different. For the first time in my adult life I will look out over an empty church on Easter Sunday. It brings about a sense of sadness. However as I thought of this, the Lord reminded me of three things that should bring joy to our heart.
First, perhaps God is stripping away all of the fluff of Easter to remind us of what really counts. Gone are the new clothes to wear to church, gone are the community Easter egg hunts, gone are the special Easter banquets at local restaurants. All we have left is Jesus and the glorious truth of His Resurrection.
I love a crowd on Easter Sunday morning. It is the largest attendance of the whole year. However on that first Easter there was no crowd. Just a few women and a couple disciples who showed up late. A crowd doesn’t make Easter nor does it detract from the glorious fact that Jesus rose again.
There was one more thought that came to me as I contemplated an empty church on Easter. An empty church brings a nagging sadness, but the empty tomb brings an overflowing gladness. Jesus is not in the tomb because He is alive and lives in the heart of every believer. This Easter let’s not grumble for what we can’t have, but rejoice in what can never be taken away from us: a Living Savior!