First Baptist Church of Rahway, 177 Elm Ave., Rahway, New Jersey 07065 is a multi-cultural congregation that has a Blended English Service on Sunday Mornings, a Latino Service at 12:00, and a Service in Telugu at 3:30PM. For more information, call (732) 388-8626. Or click here to send an email. If you wish to help the Mission and Ministry of First Baptist financially click the Donate Button.
Thursday, April 21, 2011
What Easter Is All About
Ask the above question to ten people, and you will probably receive ten different answers.
Easter can be about pageantry and spectacle. I know several churches that produce lavish productions of the trial and death of Jesus. One church even rents a donkey for Jesus to ride in on Palm Sunday, complete with diaper (just in case you were wondering).
Other churches dress their sanctuaries in black during the week, covering all of their beautiful art and decorations. Then on Easter Sunday morning they unveil it all and dress their pulpits and vestments in white to celebrate the risen savior.
And then there are groups of believers who carry crosses in a dramatic reenactment of Jesus’ walk of pain to Golgotha. I took part in a cross walk when I lived in Pennsylvania. At the end of a five mile walk in which we shared the burden of carrying a cross, we had a prayer service at a local church. I found it to be very moving.
Beyond the ceremony and celebration, the meaning of Easter can have a life changing impact upon believers. There are two important ideas we can take from the story. First is receiving new life through faith in Jesus Christ. And second is the love of God shown to us through Jesus’ willingness to sacrifice himself for us. The first concept is easy to talk about. The second one, sacrifice, is a lot harder. But I think that it is the idea of giving of oneself that needs to be emphasized and promoted more often during the Easter season.
So much of our lives are devoted to the attainment of what we want or need. And yet if we think about the most important moments in our lives, the attainment of things rarely makes the list. Meeting and marrying my wife was an event that filled a gaping hole in me and made me a better person. Throughout our 25 year life together we have had to compromise and sacrifice in order to have a wonderful relationship. Selfishness just doesn’t work. The same goes for my children. I have given up so many dreams and desires in order to provide for them. I have sacrificed so much for my family, and they have sacrificed for me. This is what it’s supposed to look like. And it is the love expressed through the act of sacrifice that makes these precious moments so powerful.
On Easter Sunday Jesus rises out of the tomb and proclaims a new life. And we all cheer. But with that new life, comes a demand to sacrifice for the ones we love. Because sacrifice and love go hand in hand.