by William Powell Tuck
Why does Easter not seem to have the major impact in our society as Christmas does? It has always been interesting to me that, whereas Christmas seems to turn the modern world on its head with everyone making preparations months in advance in a flurry of activity, Easter does not stir much excitement in the lives of people today. Easter seems to whimper in, and most people scarcely notice its coming. If it is remembered, what images come to mind—Easter bunnies, egg hunts, new clothes, new hats, vacation time, and spring flowers? Easter comes and goes without much regard. In many places, only a handful attends special Lenten services during “Holy Week,” or on Maundy Thursday or Good Friday. Oh, yes, on Easter Sunday morning we usually have a big crowd. We do not seem to realize that there would be no Christmas celebration without Easter. Easter was the first church holiday— not Christmas. Easter brought the Church into existence. Do we really realize its importance?
There are three great witnesses to the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The first witness is the Christian Church itself. The resurrection was what founded the Church. If Jesus Christ had not been raised from the grave, there would never have been a Church. The Church came into existence because of the disciples’ belief in the risen Lord. The New Testament is the second greatest witness. The New Testament did not create the Church. Disciples in the early church wrote the Gospels, Acts, and the rest of the New Testament to tell others about Jesus Christ, the risen Lord. The third notable witness to the reality of the resurrection is that the Jewish disciples changed their day of worship from Saturday – the Sabbath – to Sunday. As sacred a day as the Sabbath was to the Jews, only a miracle could make them change their day of worship from Saturday to Sunday. This miracle they declared was the resurrection of Jesus. If the crucifixion and death of Jesus were the end of his career and life, then neither the Church nor the New Testament would have come into existence. The resurrection made the difference!
Ernest Campbell, a former minister at Riverside Church in New York City, was confronted by a woman in his congregation at the church door following the Easter service. “Where were the trumpets?” she asked. “Beg your pardon,” he responded. “Where were the trumpets?” she continued. “We always have trumpets on Easter morning in our service.”
Where are the trumpets? Where are the resounding hallelujahs within the hearts and on the voices of Christian men and women? Where are the shouts of praise and affirmation? “He is risen!” Why are our tongues silent, our voices muted, and no song employed? The resurrection is the one and only thing that turned the defeated disciples into believers and crusading evangelists and brought the church into existence. On Easter Sunday two thousand years later our voices should resound with “Hallelujah! He is risen indeed!”