Every year, around this time, parents and churches ponder how to communicate the Easter story to children, as something more than dyed eggs. The problem is, of course, that it’s impossible to talk about the resurrection of Jesus without talking about death. And, in the case of Jesus, it’s really hard to talk about death without talking about crucifixion.
Some churches resolve this tension by deeming the cross too violent for kids. They talk instead about Easter meaning that Jesus is our “forever friend.” They say that Jesus “went away for a little while, and his friends were sad,” but that he soon “came back to see them.”
Most Christian churches, thankfully, still speak on Easter of the cross and the resurrection, but in many places this is, well, precisely because it’s Easter. The story seems particularly strange to the children in such places because “Jesus is my forever friend” is the standard fare the rest of the year. more >>
As we observe Holy Week there is no other issue, no other thought more demanding of our attention than that of the death, burial, and resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. On these facts-and most especially the resurrection-rest the whole Christian faith, mission, and message.
The apostle Paul wrote that if Jesus was not raised from the dead then our “faith is in vain” (1 Cor. 15:14), in fact “futile” (v. 17), and we are without hope in both life and death. Without the resurrection, there would be no hope of deliverance from our fallen state. Humanity would remain forever alienated from God. People could never find true peace with themselves or others; we would be left to stumble through this life bound by our fears and insecurities. Society and nature-all of creation-would remain under the power of injustice, evil, greed, envy, and decay.
Thankfully we who know Christ can proclaim with confidence that “Christ is risen. He is risen indeed!” However, the resurrection is not just a personal matter but also the redemptive act of God that touches the whole world! The apostle Paul wrote: more >>
The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom is urging China not to detain Christian members of unregistered "house churches" who plan to worship outdoors this Easter. But the agency doubts China's communist party will heed the word of caution until the administration can convince it to embrace human rights.
USCIRF Chair Leonard Leo chided government officials on Wednesday for their "ruthless intolerance" towards the unregistered Shouwang Church's public prayer services. He also urged Chinese officials to take a more peaceful tact with house church members on Easter Sunday.
"Beijing's action further alienates the fast-growing number of religious believers in China, particularly during Easter, the most sacred week in Christianity," said Leo in a statement. more >>
A giant 19-foot tall wooden cross along with a 10-foot tall image of Jesus was erected Thursday in busy downtown Chicago for Easter.
Sponsored by the Catholic legal firm Thomas More Society, the “Easter Cross” will be displayed in Chicago’s famous Daley Plaza until Easter day.
“All these are displays of religious beliefs in the public square. Our theory, and it’s backed up by First Amendment jurisprudence, is that Christians are just as entitled to have their religious views expressed in the public square as any other religious or public group is to have their views expressed in the public square,” said Peter Breen, executive director and legal counsel of Thomas More Society, to The Christian Post on Wednesday. more >>
It doesn’t take an emergency rescue operation to see that people need saving, says one megachurch pastor.
So this Easter, Pastor Rick Warren says he’s prepared the most important message he’s ever given.
“I’m calling it The Greatest Rescue,” the Southern California pastor told his congregation last week, according to The Orange County Register. more >>
The word on the street is simple – “church sucks.”
Plastered throughout one city in northern California are signs stating the same message, stirring some controversy among the local residents.
But it’s all part of the plan, according to Stu Streeter, the lead pastor of Disciples Church in Folsom. more >>