The Bunnies Are The Best

EASTER 

What?

I like Easter, it’s a fun holiday, a religious one, but fun. My earliest memories are:

  1. New clothes for Easter Sunday
  2. Mom hiding Easter eggs 
  3. Chocolate bunnies wrapped in brightly colored foil
  4. Chocolate bunnies that tasted a lot like wax
  5. Wondering how I knew what wax tasted like

Why?

The word “easter” seems to have originated from a pre-Christian goddess in England named Eostre who was celebrated at the beginning of spring. The only reference to her comes from the writings of the Venerable Bede, a British monk who lived in the late seventh and early eight centuries. 

Bruce Forbes, a religious studies scholar, wrote this:

“Bede wrote that the month in which English Christians were celebrating the resurrection of Jesus had been called Eosturmonath in Old English, referring to a goddess named Eostre. And even though Christians had begun affirming the Christian meaning of the celebration, they continued to use the name of the goddess to designate the season.”

When?

This year, Easter is April 1. But the date for Easter changes every year. The reason is that Easter always falls on the first Sunday after the first full moon following the spring equinox. So in 2019, Easter will be April 21 and in 2020 it will be April 12. Last year, for 2017, Easter was April 16. The year before, in 2016, Easter was March 27.

But our Easter celebration isn’t based on the goddess Eostre or the British monk. It’s aligned with Constantine who favored Christianity, who convened a meeting of Christian leaders who resolved that Easter be celebrated on a Sunday, and it be the first Sunday after the first full moon of the vernal equinox. 

In Closing

Many cultures connect Easter with the Jewish feast of Passover, commemorating the liberation of the Hebrews from Egyptian slavery. 

However you recognize Easter, whatever meaning, significance, or cultural traditions you observe please remember that its about the risen Son of God.  

empty_tomb_wide

The Resurrected Messiah-Our Hope and Our Glory

(the chocolate bunnies are nice too

It Happened Sunday Night

“Tramp, Tramp, Tramp”

Do you know that song? It was a brutal Civil War marching song written by George F. Root in 1864 and was sung by soldiers as they marched into battle.

However

The tune wasn’t destined to remain a battle song. Nope, a lyricist named Clarence Herbert Woolston borrowed the music, gave it new words, and gave the song new life for generations to come.

Who was Clarence Woolston? He was born in 1856 and died in 1927. He was minister, author and writer of hymns and was Pastor of a Philadelphia church. 

And his song? You probably know it, have sung it, and even grew up with it. Here is a piece of the song he wrote:

“Jesus loves the little children, all the little children of the world, red and yellow black and   white, Jesus loves all the little children of the world.”

Yep

Woolston used the music of a Civil War marching song and transformed it into one of the most beloved songs of all time. Jesus loves the little children. Yep! Here are a couple of verses for you: 

Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” Matthew 19:14

“He took the children in his arms, placed his hands on them, and blessed them.” Mk 10:16

For Me

On Sunday night, our church’s Children’s Ministry performed their Easter Musical,

“It’s All Because of Jesus”

Watching sixty kids sing songs of praise was inspiring; they told the old, old story with young voices and fresh hearts. Jesus loves the little children indeed. 

Easter Musical

I cried during the performance, which isn’t at all unusual, but I did. Before they came into the Worship Center to start the performance, I had a moment to pray over them. That prayer was granted. There is just something about watching and hearing children sing about Jesus that melts my heart.

To Close

I get why Jesus loved kids. I understand why he wanted them to have unhindered access. The kingdom of heaven belongs to them.

Sure, kids can be loud, busy and constantly moving, even distracting and disruptive at times. But it’s their hearts. Jesus saw their hearts, and the love of a child comes from the very center of their pure and precious hearts. 

Thank you Mr. Woolston

Your song is a big hit. 

 

Juicy Fruit: A Great Reward

Jesus Wept

It’s true, he did. A family had lost a brother. When Jesus entered their home he found them weeping for their loss, and so, he wept with them. It’s in John 11:35.

This Blog

This blog isn’t about grief, or about Jesus weeping, or even about raising the deceased  from the dead, which Jesus did. His name was Lazarus. It’s in John 11:43-44. 

No, this blog is about the shortest verse in the English language Bible. Growing up, I had several occasions to quote it.

  1. At bible camps when quoting a verse received a reward.
  2. At Vacation Bible Schools when quoting a verse received a reward.
  3. In bible classes when memorizing a verse received a reward. 

Quoting John 11:35 was the least labor intensive path.

You might think those rewards were really special? They weren’t. They were things like a pack of gum or some little doo dad that meant little and were soon lost.

juicy fruit gum

It wasn’t about the rewards.

The Real Reason

The motivation to quote was to avoid negative attention. It wasn’t impressive to quote the shortest verse, it was just the easiest way to avoid embarrassment. I did’t want to be the kid who was laughed at, or have their teasing. It was about my insecurity. 

I’n not sure that peer pressure was a good motivation for kids to learn scripture. 

To Close

That shy little boy had no idea he would grow up to be a preacher, but he did. Over the years I’ve memorized and quoted others verses in addition to John 11:35. It’s a good thing and the rewards have been rich and plentiful. I guess it’s the motivation that changed. 

“Jesus wept”

Juicy Fruit was my favorite. 

New Bible/Same Old Story

Consider these illustrations.

What People Think They Need

If I asked if you had a watch, you would probably tell me the time, right? However, I might respond with,

“I didn’t ask for the time, just if you had a watch.”

If the salesman saw me looking at drills and drill bits he probably would say, “Are you needing a new drill, or some new drill bits?” And I might reply,

“No, what I really need is a hole.”

If I were at a Christian Book store looking at Bibles, the sales person might ask, “Are you shopping for new bible?” I could say:

“No, there aren’t any new bibles, it’s been the same for hundreds of years.”

worn out bible 1

People think they need a watch, a drill bit, and a bible.

But What They Really Need

To know the time.

To make a hole.

To embrace the Word of God.

There’s no reason to get a drill bit if you aren’t making holes. There’s no reason to own a watch if you aren’t checking the time. And there’s no reason to have a bible if you aren’t going to read it.

Bibles are copies of the sacred Scriptures. Over time the pages get dog eared and frayed, the binding tears, and the leather starts fading.

worn out bible 2

However, the message remains as fresh and meaningful as ever. There aren’t any new bibles, just new copies and apps and mediums telling the same old story of the old rugged cross.

The Word of the Lord is the substance of God, it’s Holy Spirit inspired, and it is the message of Christ.

To Close

Allow your bible to be more than a shelf ornament, more than a coffee table book, let it be a light for your path, a balm for your soul, and the power unto salvation.

bibles on a shelf

Now, if you’ll excuse me,

I’m off to get a new watch battery and a 3/8” drill bit.

Shalom