Saint Paul tells us, in plain words, to strive for our reward in Christ Jesus. Not, repeat not, in the snares and temptations of this world. However much fun those might be.
The struggle between the temporal and the eternal has been with us always. Our individual struggle, we who live in this world, is to do so without losing sight of our eternal victory in Christ. Which does not happen to include flashy jewelry, cars, or fine food. In simplest terms? You can’t take it with you.
The Easter message is also plain: No Cross, no crown. Meaning that the heinous Good Friday death we, the world, imposed on Jesus, was necessary, was God’s plan, to guarantee the resurrection on Easter morn.
Evidence abounds that many in our society don’t agree with this simple message. An egregious example may be found at the Bay Area Fellowship in Corpus Christi, Texas. Always liked that name, Corpus Christi, Body of Christ. I’m surprised the ACLU hasn’t sued to get them to change it.
Bay Area Fellowship is a megachurch, where the “services are exciting, casual, and signiﬁcant to your life today.” Now I find anything biblically-based to be significant to my life today. And Easter Sunday is its own reward. But BAF isn’t letting the mere resurrection of our Lord stand alone: they are having giveaways of cars, flat screen tvs, and other worldly goods on Easter. Got to pack ’em in the pews, brothers and sisters…
Churches do what they will; one of the features of being Protestant is that there should be no hierarchy dictating terms. And, I’m certain, that BAF has “exciting” services. Can sound theology be preached in the midsts of giveaway greed? Or in the midst of services that are “significant to your life today?”
It’s possible, for certain. It’s also very unlikely. We should not go to church for an earthly reward, or for a good show. We go to church to learn about God, His Son, and the very real chance that we may be saved through the Son’s death on the cross and resurrection on the third day.
Everything else? Superfluous.