In an article for PreachingTodaySermons.com on “Crafting an Experience,” Rob Bell offers this example of one of his Easter sermons:
“These are questions I ask myself. How can I make it as hard as possible for somebody to sit with a holy stare? How can I make it so hard for you have to engage? How can I create an experience such that it becomes harder and harder for people to stay spectators? What’s happening in this text? What could I have people do? What could I have them say to each other? What can I have them feel, hold or look at? Is there something I could hand out?…
“If people can smell it, the kids can chew it, if you can create as many different dimensions as possible — many of us are tactile — if we can feel it, it makes more sense.
“How can I get people out of their seats? One Easter, we built a tomb. I gave people sheets of paper and talked about how Jesus rose from the dead.
“If somebody died and came back to life, that is a dangerous person because they’re not scared of much. You can chuck your flannelgraph, white-bathrobed Jesus, because this is one dangerous dude. He survived death. People who aren’t afraid of death are frightening to be around because they’ll do anything. If you have given your life to Jesus, you have trusted your life to somebody who knows what they’re going to do. Whatever you’re scared of, you need to write it on a sheet of paper. We’re going to spend some time worshiping. You need to take whatever it is you fear and throw it into the tome and leave it there.
“To see on Easter Sunday people walking up and spouses sobbing and then throwing it into the tomb.”