All over the world church bells ring. People attired in their very best come together to worship. Choirs joyfully proclaim alleluia’s again and again. The apex of Christian celebration happens on Easter morning.
Victory and triumph are reverberated by the voices of the faithful. Death is no more. The greatest quest of all humanity of all times is achieved in the resurrection of Jesus.
The most feared and dreaded experience of life — its conclusion in death — was overcome on that first Easter Sunday. “I am the resurrection and life. He who lives in me and believes in me will never die.” [Jesus, John 11:25] A way of life that leads to endless life is the best and most astonishing news ever heard in all the human race. There is nothing that compels human happiness and jubilation more than news of no death, and life forever more.
A disciplined life of loving and serving, forgiving and caring, is the price tag; a life-challenging and changing prescription requiring a firm commitment; a commitment that many judge as too difficult. Even though it is the exclusive and solitary path to eternal life, many engulfed in earthly vicissitudes choose not to pay the price — not to love, not to forgive, not to serve — and therein not to live forever more.
The directive from this world’s Savior (saving us from death) opposes our natural instinct to retaliate in kind (love the loving, hate the hating).
Countering this selfish nature, the Gospel formula for our own resurrection, is often categorized as irrational, absurd, self-destructive and cowardice.
Such rejection of Jesus’s Gospel coupled with faded faith in his life and teaching, find multi-millions of “Christians” not in church this Easter morning. These “Christians” may be abundantly found at an Easter egg hunt or an Easter dining indulgence. Not only are the conviction and excitement of belief in Jesus and his resurrection disputed among some “Christians,” (in spite of his convincing miracles) but a great part of the human race takes little stock in this historic Jesus and his offer of immortality. Two thirds of the world’s population stands in cold and adamant disbelief; many committed Muslims and Hindu’s.
This sad demographic of Christianity in the world seems to validate these words. “Wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life and only a few find it.” [Jesus, Mt. 7:13,14]
Perhaps the main blame lies with me. My five decades of preaching the Gospel shows little evidence of success. Further, far be it from me to judge my brothers and sisters (“Christians”, Hindus and Muslims) who do not accept and enjoy the gift of the Christian faith.
Though believers in Christ are a minority in the world, may your faith and mine be fervent, that we experience Easter’s excitement and joy this Sunday morning – and forever more.
If you like — join me in a Sun-Rise service at 7 a.m., Easter Sunday, March 31, at the Corbin Arena, held inside. 606-521-0345
The Rev. John Burkhart Ph.D, is a retired Episcopal priest and professor of psychology
firstname.lastname@example.org blog at inspirationsandideas