This post is from the defunct blog “Dying Church”
Easter is central to what it means to be a dying church. If it wasn't for Easter, it would make no sense for a church to die to itself. All organizations live for their own survival. It makes complete sense to do so, as long as one doesn't believe in the resurrection. Easter both embraces death and demolishes it. On Good Friday, we remember that death is something to be embraced; that the pathway to true life goes through death. Henri Nouwen said, "The resurrection is God's way of revealing to us that nothing that belongs to God will ever go to waste. What belongs to God will never get lost." A church that chooses to die to itself chooses the hard route (what is harder to choose than death?), but it also trusts God that there is life on the other side. The church that tries to hold on to life, forfeits life. The church that dies to itself, that stops living for its own survival, begins to experience true life. Easter doesn't just embrace death. It also demolishes it at the same time. N.T. Wright says, "Death is the ultimate weapon of the tyrant; resurrection does not make a covenant with death, it overthrows it." We can choose to die, because we believe that Jesus specializes in bringing the dead to life again. This is my first Easter since recognizing that the call to die to self applies to churches as well. I'm hearing the call to die once again. But I'm also looking forward to Sunday.