Easter

            Americans celebrate Easter on the first Sunday after the first full moon on or after March 21st.  Already the stores are full of bunnies and candy and egg-coloring kits.  Many families will hunt for Easter eggs or give baskets of candy.  But for Christians, Easter is really about the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

            We use the word “resurrection” for many things.  We may resurrect an idea after we thought it was “dead”.  We may think a friendship is lost but then it comes back to life.  Or perhaps some plan or hope of ours is dead, but then comes back again.  Have you experienced the death or resurrection of a relationship in your own life?  Give examples.

            Are there areas of your life where you would like to see resurrection?   This means that something in your career, or school, or home isn’t working well and you’d like to see it change for the better.  Give examples.

            What are common religious beliefs in your native culture – is there a belief in life after death?  Explain the details of that belief.

 

            Jesus Christ is one of three central persons in Christianity that together form one God.   Jesus lived for 33 years on earth.  The last week of his life is very important to Christians.  The Bible spends almost as much time telling about the last week of Jesus’ life as on the rest of his life.

            The events of the last week of Jesus’ life are celebrated during Easter week.  Here’s what they are:

            Palm Sunday - Jesus enters Jerusalem as a king in fulfillment of prophecy, riding on a donkey.

            Maundy Thursday - Jesus has a last meal, a Passover supper,  with his followers and gives them important last instructions.  He teaches his followers to remember him by sharing bread and wine as symbols for his own death and blood in a ritual that we call Communion or Eucharist.

            Good Friday - Jesus is arrested, beaten, questioned and put on a cross of wood to die.  In his death, all punishment for our sins is placed on him, instead of us.

            Easter Sunday - Jesus is resurrected - body and soul.  He comes back from death, alive again, and meets his friends and followers.  At first, His friends are very shocked and even afraid!  But as they talk with Jesus, touch him and see him eat, they believe that he is truly alive again.   All those who believe in Jesus will also be raised from the dead to live forever with God.

            On Easter Sunday, Christians greet each other by saying “Christ is risen!” and responding, “He is risen indeed!”  It is a day of great joy.  Many people like to go to church very early in the morning on Easter, and pretend that it is the day when Jesus rose from the dead.