What does Easter mean to you?


Last Sunday was Easter, which, next to Christmas, is the second most attended church service annually. For many, these two holidays are the only Sundays frequented at church each year. These twice-a-year parishioners are sometimes referred to as Chreasters.

With only two-yearly opportunities to entertain Chreasters, the onus is on churches to make Easter and Christmas special for them. Special music, kid’s programs, bell choirs, cantatas and dramas, perhaps even a breakfast or dinner, are included to beef up the service, all saying: we hope we made your holiday memorable and you’re always welcome here.

Why do churches want their guests to enjoy the Easter experience? By and large, Christian churches understand they’ve been tasked by God to share the Good News of Jesus with others. Known as “The Great Commission,” we’re assigned to tell others the grave importance of having a relationship with Jesus. And so, we love having holiday guests to share with.

You see, the Church isn’t a fraternal organization, or a social alliance, or a community guild, but is the assembling of like-minded persons committed to following Jesus together. The Church is also known as the “body of Christ,” where Jesus is the head and we collectively are the body.

How do you become a member of Christ’s body?

Understanding there are innumerable nuances specified by various denominations and individual churches, I don’t really believe God intended it to be so complicated. It’s simple actually. Romans 10:9 lays it out succinctly: “If you declare with your mouth “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”

Per this scripture, it boils down to this: we’ve all made mistakes (sins), Jesus gave his life to provide forgiveness, he was resurrected from death back to life, and we’re now committing to defer to his ongoing leadership/lordship. That’s it, plain and simple.

Can I tell you why Romans 10:9 means so much to me?

Four years ago, I visited my late mother in the nursing home on Easter. She had advanced dementia, was bedridden, and was typically incoherent. When I asked a question, I’d either get a yes, a no, a meaningless mumble, or just silence.

Mom was raised in a mainline church, and so I was introduced to Christianity accordingly. We didn’t attend church regularly, going at Christmas, Easter, and a few other times occasionally. I guess that would make me a “Chreaster-plus.” But my making a commitment to following Jesus occurred many years later, in my late 20’s, in an evangelical church atmosphere.

My understanding of what becoming a Christian entailed was limited to my personal experience. Since Mom hadn’t jumped the same hoops I had to become a follower of Christ, I wondered if she really understood. Though Mom seemed to acknowledge the basic tenets of the faith, I found myself wondering about her spiritual condition.

When I entered her room that Easter, I said hello, but there was no response. Her eyes were closed. She may have been asleep. I sat by the bed, held her hand, and made some small talk. I was hoping she’d say something, but was content if not. It was nice just being with her.

I asked if she knew what day it was? Again, no reply, and so I informed her, “today is Easter”. This time she did respond, weakly saying, “no it’s not.” I was amazed. I told her, “Yes, Mom, it really is. Today is Easter. Tell me, what does Easter mean to you Mom?”

I wasn’t really expecting her to say anything else at all. I hoped perhaps she’d share some little memory, like “Easter bunny”, “egg hunt” or “ham dinner,” but instead, get this, she said … “the resurrection of the Christ.”

What? Did I hear her correctly? Did my mother just say Easter is about Jesus’ resurrection? I was dumbfounded, and elated, and grateful. My mother declared with her mouth the true meaning of Easter. By golly, Mom genuinely understood the gospel after all. My confidence grew exponentially that she was destined for Heaven, to live eternally there with Jesus. Hallelujah.

How about you my friend? What does Easter mean to you?

Dave Hinman

Pastor Emeritus, Dove Church Wilmington

[email protected]

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