The season of Lent begins not only for millions of Catholics by having placed a sign of the cross on their foreheads with ash on Wednesday, but with many Christians in and outside of denominations vowing to mark the season with acts of faith.
Though Lent is often seen as part of the Catholic tradition of fasting for 40 days (calculated sometimes to exclude the weekends in the days leading to Easter), many Christians view this time as serving as a reminder to the importance of getting closer to God.
Christine Smith, founder of the online site Womens Bible Cafe, wrote on Tuesday, "Throughout biblical history we see 40 days of testing, waiting and drawing closer to God." more >>
Despite appeals from religious freedom groups, Chinese authorities continued their crackdown on a prominent house church, stopping hundreds of Christians from holding Easter services outdoors on Sunday.
Dozens from the 1,000-member Shouwang Church, one of Beijing's largest unregistered Protestant churches, were detained while at least 500 were confined to their homes, according to China Aid Association.
"We are deeply disappointed that the Chinese authorities chose to disrupt peaceful worshippers who were simply celebrating Easter today," said China Aid founder and president Pastor Bob Fu in a statement Sunday. more >>
Jesus told people to pray to him, to trust him, to follow him, to give money to his churches. He would have been the biggest liar ever if he died and never resurrected, said Pastor Mark Driscoll on Easter Sunday.
“Buddha never said he was god. Krishna never said he was god. Confucius never said he was god. Muhammad never said he was god. No other major religious founder has ever made this claim. Jesus stands alone,” said Driscoll, senior pastor of Mars Hill Church in Seattle, Wash., to a crowd of over 17,500 gathered at the football stadium Qwest field in Seattle.
"If it is false then Jesus is the most damnable liar in the history of the world,” said Driscoll, known for his passion, strong theology, as well as strong language. “But if he tells the truth, then he is God! Jesus is Lord!” more >>
So they left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. -- Matthew 28:8
Mary Magdalene and Mary walked to Jesus' grave, expecting to find death. It's understandable. Images of violence filled their minds. Thoughts of their vulnerability and mortality deadened their spirits. Death had become the defining story of their lives.
Instead of death, the women met a resurrection messenger who said, "He is not here: for he has been raised, as he said." As they hurried to tell others, the risen Jesus met them. They were changed. Now resurrection, not death, would define their lives. more >>
“Die with dignity” is the controversial message being given to East Boston residents this month, garnering criticism from many religious leaders.
Part of a nationwide campaign to legalize physician-assisted suicide, the message is plastered on a billboard, purchased by the Final Exit Network – a national, volunteer-run nonprofit organization.
The ad states, “Irreversible illness? Unbearable suffering? Die with Dignity.” more >>
On Good Friday, Christians around the world pondered the suffering Jesus endured on the cross – his back bloody from the cruel whippings he received prior to his crucifixion; his hands pierced by iron nails beaten in with a hammer; and his agonizing death on a wooden cross.
For the thousands of people who observed Good Friday at Michigan’s Greater Grace Temple, the crucifixion was more than just a thought – it was a vivid portrayal visible on the stage thanks to the illustrated sermon entitled “The Whip, Hammer and Cross.”
Throughout the production, audience members saw and heard every lash on his back. They saw the centurions laughing and mocking Jesus. They heard nails being pounded as the production depicted the actor portraying Jesus affixed to the cross. They saw Jesus hoisted high and hanging. more >>