Easter Sunday falls this year on April 16. It is a special day for families, but it takes on different meanings for lots of folks in this country. Some folks still like to “dress up” and attend church, and for some Easter Sunday might be one of the few times they attend during the year. Older family members who live away from home may visit their parents on this day. Easter egg hunts are still popular for small children. All of these things are good, but Easter Sunday has a much more profound meaning and significance for those who call themselves Christians.
Fortunately, there are many in the U.S. who recognize and honor the real significance of Easter Sunday. Sadly, there will be others who will totally miss the significance of Easter and the real reason for us to celebrate this very special day.
Rev. Jay Wolf, Pastor at the First Baptist Church in Montgomery, wrote a piece on Easter for us, titled “Preparing for Easter.” It is a timely message for all of us and it clearly puts Easter in the proper perspective. Let’s take a look at what Jay had to say.
Preparing for Easter!
On three occasions, I have stood in the empty tomb of Jesus Christ. Christ’s vacant grave stands adjacent to an outcropping of rocks that resembles a skull near to the Jerusalem bus station. The tomb is open and empty. Written on the side of the ancient grave is the proclamation of the angels: “He is not here. He has risen!” The resurrection validates all of the claims of Jesus of Nazareth. Because His tomb is empty our lives can be full of His resurrection presence, purpose and power. Easter crowns our calendar. The validity of the resurrection split time into BC and AD. Every time you write the date, you proclaim the reality of His resurrection. Can you imagine facing the fears of death and the daily grind of life without the reassuring reality of Christ’s resurrection? So let us proclaim along with the angels the ultimate good news that He has risen out of the tomb and now resides in our hearts! Sam Shoemaker was the great preacher at Calvary Episcopal Church of New York City in the early 20th century. He was famous for his booming voice. Unfortunately, muscular atrophy diminished his mighty vocal mechanism to a whisper. On one of his last Easter Sundays on planet Earth, Sam instructed, “It is a terrible thing to wake up on Easter morning and not have a voice to shout that He is risen. However, it is even more terrible to wake up with a voice and not want to shout it.” The tomb is empty and our lives are full of His presence, promise, purpose, perspective, power and peace. Share that good news with everyone this Easter season and EVERY DAY by joining the angels in announcing, “Jesus has risen from the dead, just as He said. Come and see then go and tell!” (Matthew 28:6)
I totally agree with Jay in all that he wrote and I am more than glad to pass his words on today. If you find yourself among those who don’t understand how important Easter is to humanity, there is still time to learn before the dawning light of April 16. Indeed, Jesus has risen!
My prayer is for each of us to make Easter Day a day of true celebration. Those of us who are Christians have an obligation to help spread the word about what Easter is all about.
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