Preparing For Easter

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The Rev. Alfred W. Wishart, Jr., opened his Easter sermon at the Arlington Avenue Presbyterian Church of East Orange, N.J., with these words:

“Did you ever stop to think how much time it takes to get all of you looking so nice for today? What with the shopping and all, I’d conservatively estimate that it took each of you four hours to get ready. Since there are about 500 of you here, that comes to 2,000 hours. Now if you divide that up into 40-hour workweeks and allow two weeks for vacation, it breaks down into a full year of preparation for Easter Sunday.

“So that’s where you’ve been since last year.”1

Wishart’s observations are somewhat humorous and sad at the same time because they ring true. Most likely thousands of people across the United States who attend church once or twice per year will attend church this Easter Sunday. Many of those who seldom attend church will spend time getting physically ready for Easter service. Many churches will have spent much time preparing the worship time to be as attractive as possible for those who seldom attend.

May Good Friday be a reminder that Jesus was born to die. Jesus’ whole life was preparation so that He would die at God’s appointed time. Jesus’ preparation was not about worldly attractiveness, impressing others or general acceptance. Actually, the world rejected and killed Him.

Meditate on Jesus’ last moments while preparing to worship Him this Easter Sunday.

The Death of Jesus

33 And when the sixth hour had come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour. 34 And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” 35 And some of the bystanders hearing it said, “Behold, he is calling Elijah.” 36 And someone ran and filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on a reed and gave it to him to drink, saying, “Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to take him down.” 37 And Jesus uttered a loud cry and breathed his last. 38 And the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. 39 And when the centurion, who stood facing him, saw that in this way he breathed his last, he said, “Truly this man was the Son of God!” – Mark 15:33–39 (ESV).

My Easter prayer is that Christians would spend more time preparing spiritually than they would on their physical appearance. And those churches who have gone the extra mile to attract those who do not attend church will have spent more time preparing a clear gospel message that outshines any specialties employed for Easter. Finally, that those who profess to be Christians who do not normally attend church will be convicted to assemble regularly with a local congregation; and those non-Christians will repent and believe the gospel with the conviction that 1) Christian worship is not about special presentations on particular holidays and 2) that the resurrection is not just an Easter worship celebration, but is central to every Christian worship service.

  1. Paul Lee Tan, Encyclopedia of 7700 Illustrations: Signs of the Times (Garland, TX: Bible Communications, Inc., 1996).
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The above article was posted on April 6, 2012 by Mark Lamprecht.
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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Sergius Martin-George April 6, 2012 at 11:18 am

Hey, you used the word “Easter!”

You’re in trouble now.

SMG

2 Peter L April 6, 2012 at 2:10 pm

Finally, that those Christians who do not normally attend church will be convicted to assemble regularly with a local congregation;

Perhaps you should say “those who profess to be Christians”, as no true Christian misses 51 Sundays only to make an appearance on Easter. No, those who only attend once or twice a year are only fooling themselves and others who are only nominally, but not truly, Christians. So, to reword your prayer:

“Finally, that those who profess to be Christians who do not normally attend church will be convicted to repent of their sins and turn to Christ in true belief, recognizing that they have been fooling themselves all these years; etc.”

3 Mark April 6, 2012 at 11:19 pm

Sergius Martin-George, yep, I might lose the favor of some men.

Peter, noted, thanks. I will take your suggestion and change the wording for a more accurately reflection.

.

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