Eugene Cho

easter bonanza galore special festivities

The local papers no longer call me the week before Easter.  The last few years, at least one of the local papers called to ask the following question:

“Is your church doing anything special for Easter?”

And each year, I just feel so lame because I don’t really have a good answer.  It’s not that we don’t have any ideas or that we can’t google “what cool churches are doing for Easter”…

It’s just that that’s not who we are.  This is in no way to criticize churches that choose to do creative or cool things.  But I guess this is my way of forewarning visitors who are thinking of visiting Quest this Sunday to not expect anything special:

  • There will be no free gifts.
  • There will not be an egg hunt or a big egg drop from a helicopter.
  • There will not be any big theatrical production with dry ice.

The reporter asks again,

“So, seriously, you guys don’t do anything special for Easter.”

I’m not trying to be a smart ass but I respond,

“No, we’re pretty lazy and our resources are limited.  But, seriously, the message of Easter is special enough.  We want to welcome our guests by simply being ourselves.  We don’t have any stuff or gifts to give but what we can “give” to people is to genuinely extend hospitality and an accurate glimpse of our community and ethos.  We do our usual thing:  we sings beautiful worship songs, we greet, I preach for a long long time, and we welcome anyone that believes to celebrate Communion.

Actually, we might have some decent donuts and coffee – which is special since we don’t usually give donuts. And oh, there is another special thing…I usually wear a suit for Easter!”

I think this is why the local papers no longer call us to ask about what we’re doing special for Easter.  They don’t call because well, umm, there’s nothing to write about.

Whether you are a pastor, a lay leader, or simply, a believer – may we all enjoy the various festivities of Easter and Resurrection Sunday.  But let’s not forget that the message of the gospel – the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus – even without all the accessories – is pretty darn special. 

Filed under: religion, , , ,

8 Responses

  1. Janet says:

    What!?!

    There’s no big helipcopter egg drop at your church? Lame…

  2. Kacy says:

    We have always celebrated Easter in our own home – this way we can make sure that what is provided in the way of festivities and activities is that of our own choice and not ones made by others. Happy Easter

  3. rk says:

    pastor eugene, i think you’re one of the coolest pastor i’ve known (besides those in my church of course) hah.
    your “realness’ makes chirstianity very real. thanks!🙂

  4. johnnie says:

    Great sermon today. Thank you very much for the refreshing perspective.

  5. Jennifer says:

    Eugene,

    I am so glad that Quest doenst do anything cheesy for Easter. All the silly hyped-up stuff takes away from Easter for me.

    But, Easter can also be a huge disconnect for me when it’s bascially just a normal Sunday. Part of me knows this is the most important day in the Christian year, and wants to celebrate in a way that marks the day. But when things around me are just normal (even if normal is really good….good worship, good sermon, good communion, etc) I feel disconnected from it. Maybe it’s just me, but a big part of me wants it to be a big deal – not with some cheesy egg hunt, but with worship and art that matches the weight of the import of that day.

    I go to Chicago any Easter I can (like this year) to the 4-hour Easter Vigil because the beuaty and intensity and joy of the music and artistic expression. Somehow I need help for the day to be marked in a special way – because the reality of that day has to get me through a whole year of struggle.

    I’m not saying that is better or worse than what Quest does. We are who we are, and I love who we are. I’m just trying to say that I need help for the joy and beauty of Easter to be real to me that goes beyond a normal Sunday. Maybe that’s my own immaturity, but that’s where I am.

  6. […] Next year, maybe it’ll be time for the big helicopter egg drop! […]

  7. […] PE come dressed up in suit the one time a year he does.  ;)  but like he mentions in his more recent blog entry, whether there is a egg hunt, special musical production w/ live animals… it’s […]

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It appears I brought a little Seattle to the NYC. Drizzle fest. 24 hour gathering with a small group of leaders from around the country. Learning. Listening. Asking hard questions. Head exploding. Heart trying to have hope. As I soaked in this breathtaking sunrise this morning above the clouds, I felt compelled to pray for so my places in America and around the world that are experiencing such pain, heartache, injustice, and violence. At times, it feels so overwhelming but in prayer, I was reminded of these words from John 16:33. As we keep striving, working, hoping, preaching, loving, truthtelling, reconciling, repenting, forgiving, dismantling, peacemaking, Kingdom building...may we fix our eyes on Christ: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” - John 16:33 Grateful for a very full weekend of ministry and preaching in Toronto, Canada (GTA). Such a privilege to partner with @worldvisioncan @wvcollective to advocate for the most vulnerable around the world. God is so gracious. A true honor to meet and encourage local pastors, lecture at Tyndale University & Seminary (photo), and preach at Richmond Hills Community Church, Compass Point Bible Church, and New City Church. Thank you, Lord, that you use broken and imperfect people like me to speak of Your love. Today, Minhee and I dropped off our eldest child at her college. We have been thinking and praying about this day for many years. On some days, we hoped it would never come. On other days, we couldn't wait for it to come. On some days, we prayed for time to stop and other days, we prayed with anticipation. 
After an entire summer of laughing it off, it hit us...hard...this week. Seeing all of her stuff laid out on the basement floor was the catalyst to a load of emotions.

After unloading the car and taking her stuff to her new home for this year and mindful that she might never live with us again; helping sort out her stuff, saying hello to her roommates...I wasn't sure what to do or say.

A flood of thoughts rushed my mind.

Is she ready?
Have we done enough?
Have we taught her enough? 
What if this? What if that?

And so we shared what we have shared with her the moment she began to understand words: "Remember who you are. Remember WHO you belong to. Remember what you're about. God loves you so much. Please hold God's Word and His promises close and dear to your heart. We love you so much and we are so proud of you." And with that, we said goodbye. Even if she may not be thousands of miles away, this is a new chapter for her and even for us. I kept it composed. Her roommate was staring at me. I didn't want to be that father. I have street cred to uphold. Another final hug. 
And I came home.
And I wept.
Forget my street cred.
I miss her. I love her.
She will always be my little baby.

I'm no parenting guru. I just laughed as I wrote that line. No, I'm stumbling and bumbling along but I'd love to share an ephiphany I learned not that long ago. Coming to this realization was incredibly painful but simultaneously, liberating. To be honest, it was the ultimate game-changer in my understanding as a parent seeking after the heart of God.

While there are many methods, tools, philosophies, and biblical principles to parenting, there is – in my opinion – only one purpose or destination.

Our purpose as parents is to eventually…release them. Send forth. For His glory. Met a friend and fellow pastor who I haven't seen in over 20 years. In him, I saw a glimpse of my future. While only 10 years older, his kids are married and he's now a grandfather of 3. His love for his wife and family were so evident and his passion for the Gospel has not wavered. It was so good to see someone a bit older still passionately serving the Lord with such joy and faithfulness. Lord, help me to keep running the race for your Glory. Happy wife.
Happy life. - Eugenius 3:16

I still remember that time, many years ago, when Minhee was pregnant with our first child. She had left her family and friends in Korea just two years before. Her morning sickness was horrible and when she finally had an appetite, she craved her favorite Korean food from certain restaurants in her neighborhood in Seoul, Korea. I had no way of getting that food from those restaurants so I actually said, "How about a Whopper? Big Mac?" Sorry honey. Eat away. You deserve it.

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