Lloyd Strickland, Clearwater Christian Church
Hope is the central theme of Easter. However, it is a theme that has passed from the Christian context to that of a secular holiday. Bunnies and coloured eggs and a time to enjoy a long weekend seems more the theme of Easter today.
A kind of hope without religious overtones is symbolized by the newness of the Spring season. Perhaps in our pluralistic society this change is to be expected.
With very few Canadians involved in a church or perhaps even interested in Christianity, the holiday we witness now bears very little resemblance to the church feast of many years ago. Of course, there are some places where the old traditions are still to be found, and that is good.
Even within the Christian community there are disagreements about Easter. Some groups feel that the holiday was cloned from a pagan feast, and choose not to observe it. Some groups see the emphasis on only one day to remember the resurrection of Jesus as wrong.
Yet Easter Sunday, many churches will begin their services with these traditional words:
Leader: “The Lord be with you.”
People: “And with you.”
Leader: “Christ Is Risen!”
People: “He is risen indeed!”
Why do we shout this out? We are taking time to recognize the hope we have in Jesus.
Despite the seemingly endless attacks on the credibility of the Bible and the questioning of the existence of God so prevalent today, we have an enduring hope. That hope is based on an assurance of the reality of the Christian message. I believe that there is good evidence to trust the historic message of our faith. And, central to that message is the resurrection of Jesus. That is our hope.
The Apostle Paul sums up that message this way:
“Where, O death, is your victory?
Where, O death, is your sting?”
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” 1 Corinthians 15:55-58
In defiance of the attacks upon our faith, those of us who observe Easter as a Christian observance, stand firm with the faithful who have gone before. We will rise to our feet and join the in the message of hope:
Christ is risen! He is risen indeed!