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We need Easter’s true message so much

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Uncommon Sense with Glenn Mollette

Easter is here and we badly need it. People throughout the world celebrate the holiday in different ways just as they celebrate Christmas differently.
When I was a boy, I remember Easter egg hunts at Grandma and Grandpa Hinkle’s place. They had lots of yard and egg-hiding places and a lot of grandchildren to look for them. I was lucky if I found one or two eggs with all the competition.
People still hunt for Easter eggs and look forward to an Easter basket. There are a couple of chocolate factories in our town and it’s a home-run week for them filling up Easter baskets.
Most Christians around the world will celebrate Easter in church. Easter is the churches’ prime-time Sunday of the year. If a church cannot attract a crowd on Easter Day, it will not have any crowds the rest of the year.
Easter is the one Sunday when most folks going to church have to sit on folding chairs and park on the side of the road, the grass or down the way.
By and large, many will dress up a bit more, even if they don’t always dress up for church. Some adults will wear a new dress or suit and some kids will have a new Easter outfit. Please do remember, though, that a good church will be glad you are there regardless of how you can afford to dress!
I served a number of congregations over the years and I loved Easter but was always really glad when it was over. The average minister has about 20 to 25 minutes to hit a home run and round the bases before the average attendee totally zones out or starts eyeing the exit door.
The Easter message is much the same year after year. Just as Christmas is about the birth of Jesus, Easter focuses on Christ’s resurrection from the grave.
It shouldn’t take an ingenious sermon to stir church people about a man who the Bible says overcame the grave and appeared to a number of people after his death. Yet, every year it seems that clergy find a way to bore people with the greatest story ever told by the way they tell it.
Christians around the planet stake their lives and eternal destinies on the message of the resurrection. The New Testament time and time again reiterates: “He is risen!”
A dead Jesus takes all the air out of Christianity. If Jesus never arose from the grave, Christianity is just another organization meeting every week and doing some nice things along the way. The church with a dead Jesus would still be a religious nonprofit but it would be a lifeless religion indeed.
Today, the world is hurting all over, from another horrible school shooting just this week at San Bernardino to Christians reportedly murdered by Islamic State bombing in Egypt. There is horror in Syria and growing tensions between Russia, Iran, North Korea and the United States.
Every day, more than 50 million Americans struggle in poverty. Hospitals and nursing homes are filled with people battling for their health and a little more life. The world is filled with worry.
We worry about tomorrow, about how will we exist and about our families and loved ones.
We fret over a lot of stuff we can’t change or fix. We carry too much baggage and often cannot remember what is in the baggage. One of the richest people in the United States is in the storage-unit business. Everywhere I travel today,
I see more and more storage units popping up because we prize our junk so much. We store it up and, often, someone else will have to throw it away when we die.
Easter is about hope, peace, a new life, a second chance and bringing focus and meaning to this life and this world.
The Bible reports in John chapter 20 that Mary Magdalene saw Jesus on the first day of the week after his resurrection outside the entrance to the garden tomb. She ran to the disciples, reporting: “I have seen the Lord!”
Later that evening, Jesus appeared to his disciples, said “Peace be with you” to them and then showed them his hands and his side.
The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord and, for the second time, Jesus said “Peace be with you”.
Later, the disciples would report to one of the doubting disciples by the name of Thomas: “We have seen the Lord!” Thomas didn’t believe it but later he would see Jesus with his own eyes and touch the nail prints in his hands, exclaiming: “My Lord and my God!”
These early followers of Christ were filled with such peace and internal strength that their lives would never be the same again. They were so convicted internally about Jesus that they would literally suffer and, in many cases, die for their faith.
America and our world generally need a song to sing, a bell to ring and a hero to follow. Great people stand and fall and we all come and go. The message of Easter and a living Jesus continues to give hope, peace and strength to us all. This year, not much has changed so, once again, we need that message really badly.
Glenn Mollette is an American author whose syndicated column is read in all 50 states.

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