by REV. HELEN H. COLLINS
North Kent Presbyterian Church
In “Growing Deep in the Christian Life,” pastor and author Chuck Swindoll tells about a Sunday school kindergarten teacher who was trying to determine how much religious training her new students had. She found one five-year-old boy who knew absolutely nothing about the story of Jesus. She began by relating to him the death of Jesus on the cross. When he asked her what a cross was, she picked up some sticks and, fashioning a crude cross, she told him that Jesus had been nailed to a cross and had died.
The little boy, with eyes downcast, quietly said, “Oh, that’s too bad!”
But then the teacher quickly related that Christ rose again and came back to life. Hearing that, the little boy’s eyes got as big as saucers. His face lit up, and he exclaimed, “Totally awesome!”
That’s what we celebrate this Sunday, April 24. Before that first Easter Day, people believed they had to do a lot of things to earn God’s love. They had a lot of laws they had to obey, and if they failed to keep every bit of the Law, they were required to make a sacrifice: grain or a small animal for a small mistake, a lamb or bull for a big sin. The sacrifice would put them right with God, until the next time they messed up. Then they would have to prepare another sacrifice, and so the cycle continued. No one could ever be totally sure they were in God’s good graces.
We call the Friday before Easter “Good Friday” because it reminds us that on that day, once, for all, Jesus Christ endured crucifixion and death as the final sacrifice for your sin and mine.
With joy we celebrate Easter Sunday, the Day of Resurrection, because Jesus rose from the dead and came back to life. “Totally awesome!” that Jesus took the punishment for all the times you and I break God’s Law of love. “Totally awesome!” that although he experienced death, he is still alive. “Totally awesome!” that God, Creator of the universe and everything in it, loves you and me and offers us the gift of eternal life with Christ.
In a “Family Circus” cartoon, two of the children have found their Easter baskets and are enjoying all the goodies. One asks, “Who colored all these eggs?”
His sister replies, “The Easter bunny.”
“Who gave us the jelly beans?”
“The Easter bunny.”
“And the chocolate rabbit?”
“The Easter bunny.”
At the end of the strip, the family is in church for Easter worship and hears the preacher say, “They came to the tomb and saw that the stone had been rolled back. Who could have done this?”
The little boy jumps up and exclaims, “The Easter bunny!”
Easter eggs, jelly beans and chocolate bunnies are sweet and traditional Easter treats. Do your children, grandchildren and neighbors know the totally awesome truth of God’s love they represent?