In a few weeks’ time we will be turning our thoughts to Lent and then eventually to Easter, that wonderful festival of the Church which was at one time called the ‘Queen of Festivals’. Although the heading for this message is Lent, our thoughts and prayers during the Lenten Season is all in preparation for the great Easter Day when our mood turns from the sombrous to the ecstatic and we cry ALLELUIA CHRIST IS RISEN
A Sunday school teacher was teaching a group of four-year-olds. It was Easter Sunday and she asked, ''Does anyone know what today is?'' One little girl raised her hand and said, ''It's Easter.'' The teacher complimented her and then asked, ''Does anyone know what makes Easter so special?'' The same little girl raised her hand and said, ''Easter is special because Jesus rose from the dead...'' Before the teacher could compliment her, the little girl added, ''but if He sees His shadow, He has to go back in for seven weeks.''
Since the year 325, Easter has been observed on the first Sunday after the full moon following the vernal equinox (the time when the sun crosses the equator). Therefore, Easter always falls between March 22nd and April 25th. Early Christians observed Easter on the 14th day of Nisan (April) regardless of what day of the week it fell on.
But, regardless of when it is observed, Easter is and will always be a special day for every believer Easter is special to every Christian, it is special because of what it represents historically, biblically, spiritually and personally.
When you look at the preaching of the apostles you find that the Easter message was the dominant theme of their preaching and witnessing. It was the heart and soul of the message they shared and declared. In Acts 4:33 we read, ''And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus.'' It is obvious, that to them, the meaning and message of Easter was special.
I often wonder if Easter has the same significance today. Has Easter, like Christmas become so wrapped up in the commercial world with its chocolate Easter eggs, Easter parades and even Easter bonnets, that the Queen of Festivals has lost its true meaning, lost what the Church throughout the world celibates on this day – CHRIST RISING FROM THE DEAD. For without Easter there would be no Christian Church. The Christian faith is the only faith in the world that has a RISEN head or leader. Without Easter those people in Jerusalem who had been His followers, who were frightened out of their lives after Good Friday, would not have had the strength and faith to go out into the world proclaiming their faith and exulting others to do the same – accept Christ and follow Him.
May Lent be a time of real preparation for us all, so that when EASTER comes, we will be ready to shout with tremendous joy and feeling,
ALLELUIA, ALLELUIA CHRIST IS RISEN.