Easter Sundays are the days where you dress in your absolute Sunday best.
Maybe your mom dressed you up in a bright-colored pastel button up and slacks with a tie (no jacket.) Maybe you came home from college and you'd rather be sleeping in, but you have to go to Sunday church as long as you're sleeping under your parents roof. It's the one Sunday a year where you get a ham, deep dive on the deviled eggs, potatoes au gratin, and cook up some asparagus. At least, that's what Easter is for me.
Easter, as a whole, is the big sweeping moment (the triumphant fanfare) where Jesus does the one thing that literally defines Christianity separate from other Abrahamic faiths. It's this glorious moment and it's written in the Bible to be this total plot-twist. It's the redemption of all our hard work fasting and meditating and self-reflecting during Lent. It's this total, absolute swelling in the movie where we all get excited! Finally! A release from the dread and anxiety! It's a big deal, and I showed up fifteen minutes late.
You wanna know why I showed up fifteen minutes late? Full confession: I watched one extra episode of the new season of Jessica Jones. I knew full well, even told myself, that I shouldn't watch it. It was only gonna make me late for church on the one Sunday I literally can't be late for. Something about the sheer obligation of showing up on time provoked my guilt complex and in order to distract myself from feeling guilty I watched the episode.
It's not like I intended to show up late. I was actually hoping to show up fifteen minutes early. That way I can say hi to my friends (friends I don't see all that often) and get a good seat. Just, something in me didn't say no when Netflix counted down to the next episode. Five. Four. Three. Two. One.
Rationally I felt that if I showed up too early to church I would be the only Young Adult there. Which is no fun. When you're the only Young Adult it gets kinda weird.
You're not a married couple so you can't talk about mortgages or housing markets or school board policies. You're the only one from your generation so you're very unlikely to talk to somebody about It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia or the latest Wes Anderson movie or the best brunch spots in Church.
Then there's this weird fawning effect that happens every so often. Young Adults know what I'm talking about. It's this weird effect where, when you show up church members start acting like you're the saviors of the Church. Which, from their perspective you're the lifeblood to keep the church going and maybe they don't consciously think that but they definitely project that. SO many of my friends echo my thoughts when we talk about going to church: "I just don't like how they treat me so differently."
So I didn't show up on time. I didn't get in trouble or anything, but I definitely felt guilty. Which is another unintended consequence of missing a service or Sunday school. I call it Church-shaming.
On a qualitative level I know that faith is a habit you practice and so I need to go to church to practice it. But, like any habit, it's hard to establish and the early days of establishing a habit are the most fragile.
It's not like I hate church or anything. Quite the opposite, in fact. I grew up in a loving church family that raised me to be a (generally) moral and decent human being. Maybe I would've grown up the same without Church but I'm kind of glad I didn't have to find out. I was born and raised in a church and they helped me grow into an intelligent, responsible young man. So why don't I go on Sundays?
Well the ACTUAL excuse is: I work out on Sundays. I work out in a frisbee group Sunday mornings from 10-11. THEN! I workout Sunday afternoon at 3 in a frisbee league where we play a couple games.
The psychological reason: I can't tell you.
Do I feel a little pressured by my church family and thus put off to the whole event? Sure! Do I feel guilty for not attending church and thus want to avoid the guilt by never going in the first place? Without a doubt. Do I hate showing up to church and being voluntold to participate? I'm a total softie. I say yes to everything.
All of these are valid reasons but they are only part of the puzzle. It's also completely unfair to say Church is the reason I don't go to church. I share some of the blame too.
In the end I don't know exactly why I'd rather go to frisbee practices then to Church. For some reason I like frisbee practices more than a service. Would I go to church if it wasn't during frisbee? Absolutely. But I'm not gonna ask my Church to change itself according to my needs.
I wish I had more answers for you. Maybe I'll explore each of these thoughts in depth. If you agree with me let me know! If you disagree with me let me know! I'm always open to hearing your thoughts.