Why is Easter important to Christians?
Easter observes new beginnings
The Rev. Randy Beeman, senior pastor, First Christian Church, 1000 Ky:
I asked someone what Easter meant.
Their reply was: "Easter is the Christian holiday that coincides with the Jewish Passover. Jesus and his disciples were eating at the Last Supper and he was later deceived and turned over to the Romans by one of his disciples. The Romans took him to be crucified and he was hung on a cross. He was buried in a grave, which was sealed off by a large boulder. Every year the boulder is moved aside so that Jesus can come out, and if he sees his shadow there will be six more weeks of winter."
Well, not quite.
Easter or Resurrection Sunday is the day Christians -- people who are deeply devoted followers of Jesus -- celebrate the Resurrection or coming back to life of Jesus the Christ from the dead. The early Christian church saw his Resurrection as a new act of God in history and the victory of God in vindicating Jesus as the Messiah. This event marks the central faith confession of the church and is the focal point for Christian worship and faith.
Easter is about new life and new beginnings. From the Christian perspective, Jesus died on the cross to pay the price for our rebellion against God. Our rebellion caused us to be separated from God, and the price to be paid for our rebellion would be spiritual death and eternal separation from God.
Jesus is the bridge that reunites us to a full relationship with God.
Easter is the time we celebrate Jesus' new life and the new life that can be ours, as we love him.
Send e-mail to the Rev. Randy Beeman at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Season is defining event of faith
The Rev. Lew Hinshaw, associate pastor, Plymouth Congregational Church, 925 Vt.:
Easter is the high point of the Christian year, the celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, the defining and founding event of the Christian faith.
In the Resurrection, Christians claim to find supreme evidence of an ultimate truth: that in grace God acts with power against death and on the side of life in Jesus, so that the power of life may be stronger than death in us.
The Resurrection story is not about merely an empty tomb. The sequel, without which the Resurrection is incomplete, is the story of the disciples-in-hiding who came out onto the streets and began openly and boldly proclaiming Jesus Christ. They came to life. There are many sequels. If it were only Jesus whom the power of God brought to new life, the Resurrection would be of little importance to anybody.
The common wisdom is that only death and taxes are certain. Easter is important to Christians because it tells us that life is more certain than death. It tells us that the final word in God's universe is not death, but life. The Resurrection of Jesus Christ is for us Christians not just wishfully thinking death away. It is the perennial and daily experience of the new life in Christ that is ultimate reality, that is God's ultimate gift to humankind, both now and in the life beyond this life.
Martin Luther, I believe it was, put it best: "While it appears that in the midst of life we die, as Christians our faith is that in the midst of death we live."
Send e-mail to the Rev. Lew Hinshaw at email@example.com.