Resurrection Sunday 2018! Jesus is alive and lives forevermore! Celebrate the Good News!
As a boy, I was born and reared in San Antonio, Texas. Pastor G. O. DeMerchant and his wife, Sister Willie, dedicated me to the Lord. Since then, I have spent many Easter Sundays in church. Now, as Easter 2018 approaches, I have been thinking about how much has changed as we celebrate Resurrection day. Walk with me down memory lane and let me know what I forgot.
At home, we often dyed and painted hard-boiled eggs on the Saturday before Easter. Then on Easter morning, we awoke to find chocolate eggs in our “hidden” nests. But we couldn’t eat them until after church. Usually, all the extended family would gather together for an Easter feast, or we would go to Youngbloods Fried Chicken on Broadway.
Here are some of my memories of a typical Easter Sunday at church:
Sunday started with a Sunrise service outside
Easter lilies decorated the platform
Women often wore Easter bonnets with matching gloves
Wives wore a corsage, red if their mother was living, and white if deceased
Husbands wore a boutonnière on the left side, near the heart
Easter meant that winter was over, and we could wear white shoes and clothes
We always sang “Up from the grave He arose”
The choir usually sang an Easter Cantata by John W. Peterson
It was often at Easter when I got a new suit. In my mother’s notes, she wrote that in 1955, she bought me a new blue suit for $9.00
One Easter, a lady brought a “Passion flower” to show our class. She said that it is a beautiful illustration of the Easter story. She said that the three stamens represent the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, or the three crosses. The circle of petals symbolizes the crown of thorns. The leaves denote the spear that went into Jesus’ side. And the “Passion flower” usually lasts only three days, the time Jesus spent in the tomb.
Possibly you will remember other Easter traditions that we no longer do. I would love to hear from you. But, I know that we must never forget the story of Easter. It is far more important than Christmas or Thanksgiving. The Apostle Paul said in 2 Thessalonians 2:15 ESV, “Hold to the traditions that you were taught.”
It is one thing to alter our styles of clothing, customs, and traditions. These changes are expected as society moves from generation to generation. But it is quite another thing to forget and abandon certain key traditions of our faith. As an example, many churches no longer have a Good Friday service. They have abandoned a wonderful opportunity to teach about the suffering of Christ, and what it means to us today. In an effort to be upbeat and positive, some ministers find it difficult to deal with the death of Jesus. But it is a real part of the Easter story that should not be ignored.
In fact, even preaching about the relevancy of the Cross in 2018 is a challenge for some. While we love to preach about the Resurrection, we must never minimize the death and burial of Christ. The spoken words of Jesus from the Cross, and his burial in the tomb of a rich man, is packed with spiritual truth, comfort, and prophecy. It was Evangelist Billy Graham who said, “God proved His love on the Cross. When Christ hung, and bled, and died, it was God saying to the world, ‘I love you.’”
As we celebrate Easter, take the opportunity to tell others the entire message of hope that is found in the suffering, death, burial, and Resurrection of Jesus. The whole story for the whole world!