Easter is about hope and all things new

| April 2, 2015 | 0 Comments


Chaplain (Capt.) Jeffery B. Herden
1st Battalion, 21st Infantry Regiment
2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team
25th Inf. Division


A joke is told about squirrels that had overrun three churches in Fareham Town, Hampshire, United Kingdom.

The vicars had tried everything in their power to remove them.

After a great deal of prayer, the wardens of the first church determined that the animals were predestined to be there. Who were they to interfere with God’s will? However, the squirrels continued to multiply.

The second church’s wardens had decided that they could not harm any of God’s creatures, so they purchased some humane traps, caught the miscreants and set them free outside of town. Several days later, the squirrels returned, much to the parish council’s horror.

It was only the third church that succeeded in keeping the intruders away. The vicar baptized the squirrels and registered them as members of the church. Now they only see them at Christmas and Easter.

That humorous story highlights the common occurrence of much higher attendance numbers in places of Christian worship during special holy days like Easter. What is it about Easter that seems to summon some devotion even from the ranks of the uncommitted? Simply put, Easter Sunday, on the heels of Good Friday, commemorates two of the holiest events in the Bible.

Good Friday is celebrated by Christian worshippers in remembrance of Jesus Christ’s sufferings and death for the forgiveness of sins, which occurred on a Friday early in the 1st century A.D.

As the story is told in the Gospel accounts of the New Testament, on the first day of the week following his death, Jesus rose bodily from the dead and appeared to his closest disciples. Over the next 40 days he appeared to over 500 eyewitnesses. Since then, he continues to be worshipped by Christians as the risen Savior who conquered sin and death on their behalf.

Orthodox, Roman Catholic and Protestant churches have different points of emphasis and traditions that have developed over the centuries in their observance of this celebration. Yet, all welcome the opportunity to proclaim the resurrection of Christ to newcomers that fill their pews.

For Christians, it is appropriate for this holy day to occur in springtime. The weather warms, the ground thaws, gardens are planted, harvests are prepared, and for many, a sense of hope for a better future is kindled.

This newfound hope lies at the heart of the Christian message to a watching world. The apostle Peter said it this way as recorded in his letter found in the New Testament:


“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ who has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” — 1 Peter 1:3


In a world filled with chaos and confusion, that living hope still lives and marches on, finding new hearts and souls to live in every year.

May this be the year that you and many more encounter that living hope.

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Category: Footsteps in Faith, News, Standing Columns

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