The German theologian Jurgen Moltmann expresses in a single sentence the great span
from Good Friday to Easter. It is, in fact, a summary of human history, past, present, and
future: "God weeps with us so that we may someday laugh with him."
Yancey in Christianity Today. 1 Cor. 15:54.
It was May Day, 1990. The place, Moscow's Red Square. "Is it straight, Father?"
one Orthodox priest asked another, shifting the heavy, eight-foot crucifix on his
shoulder. "Yes," said the other. "It is straight." Together the two
priests, along with a group of parishioners holding ropes that steadied the beams of the
huge cross, walked the parade route. Before them was passed the official might of the
Union of Soviet Socialist Republics: The usual May Day procession of tanks, missiles,
troops, and salutes to the Communist party elite. Behind the tanks surged a giant crowd of
protesters, shouting up at Mikhail Gorbachev. "Bread!...Freedom!...Truth!"
As the throng passed directly in front of the Soviet leader standing in his place of
honor, the priests hoisted their heavy burden toward the sky. The cross emerged from the
crowd. As it did, the figure of Jesus Christ obscured the giant poster faces of Karl Marx,
Friedrich Engels, and Vladimir Lenin that provided the backdrop for Gorbachev's reviewing
stand. "Mikhail Sergeyevich!" one of the priests shouted, his deep voice
cleaving the clamor of the protesters and piercing straight toward the angry Soviet
leader. "Mikhail Sergeyevich! Christ is risen!"
Charles W. Colson, The Body, 1992, Word Publishing,
In Storytelling: Imagination and Faith, William J. Bausch shares: "In the
Greek Orthodox tradition, the day after Easter was devoted to telling jokes. . . .They
felt they were imitating the cosmic joke that God pulled on Satan in the Resurrection.
Satan thought he had won, and was smug in his victory, smiling to himself, having the last
word. So he thought. Then God raised Jesus from the dead, and life and salvation became
the last words."
William J. Bausch, Storytelling: Imagination and
Little Philip, born with Down's syndrome, attended a third-grade Sunday School class
with several eight-year-old boys and girls. Typical of that age, the children did not
readily accept Philip with his differences, according to an article in Leadership
magazine. But because of a creative teacher, they began to care about Philip and accept
him as part of the group, though not fully. The Sunday after Easter the teacher brought
Leggs pantyhose containers, the kind that look like large eggs. Each receiving one, the
children were told to go outside on that lovely spring day, find some symbol for new life,
and put it in the egg-like container. Back in the classroom, they would share their
new-life symbols, opening the containers one by one in surprise fashion. After running
about the church property in wild confusion, the students returned to the classroom and
placed the containers on the table. Surrounded by the children, the teacher began to open
them one by one. After each one, whether flower, butterfly, or leaf, the class would ooh
and ahh. Then one was opened, revealing nothing inside. The children exclaimed,
"That's stupid. That's not fair. Somebody didn't do their assignment." Philip
spoke up, "That's mine." "Philip, you don't ever do things right!" the
student retorted. "There's nothing there!" I did so do it," Philip
insisted. "I did do it. It's empty. the tomb was empty!" Silence followed. From
then on Philip became a full member of the class.
He died not long afterward from an
infection most normal children would have shrugged off. At the funeral this class of
eight-year-olds marched up to the altar not with flowers, but with their Sunday school
teacher, each to lay on it an empty pantyhose egg.
For family devotions, Martin Luther once read the account of Abraham offering Isaac on
the altar in Genesis 22. His wife, Katie, said, "I do not believe it. God would not
have treated his son like that!" "But, Katie," Luther replied, "He
W. Wiersbe, The Wycliffe Handbook of Preaching &
Preachers, p. 191.
Dr. Seamands tells of a Muslim who became a Christian in Africa. "Some of his
friends asked him, 'Why have you become a Christian?' He answered, 'Well, its like this.
Suppose you were going down the road and suddenly the road forked in two directions, and
you didn't know which way to go, and there at the fork in the road were two men, one dead
and one alive--which one would you ask which way to go?'"
Warren Webster, April,
1980, HIS, p. 13.
Dr. George Sweeting tells of an incident in the early 1920s when Communist leader
Nikolai Bukharin was sent from Moscow to Kiev to address an anti-God rally. For an hour he
abused and ridiculed the Christian faith until it seemed as if the whole structure of
belief was in ruins. Then questions were invited. An Orthodox church priest rose and asked
to speak. He turned, faced the people, and gave the Easter greeting, "He is
risen!" Instantly the assembly rose to its feet and the reply came back loud and
clear, "He is risen indeed!"
Today in the Word, September, 1989, p. 8.
Some of us stay at the cross,
some of us wait at the tomb,
Quickened and raised with Christ
yet lingering still in the gloom.
Some of us 'bide at the Passover feast
with Pentecost all unknown,
The triumphs of grace in the heavenly place
that our Lord has made His own.
If the Christ who died had stopped at the cross,
His work had been incomplete.
If the Christ who was buried had stayed in the tomb,
He had only known defeat,
But the way of the cross never stops at the cross
and the way of the tomb leads on
To victorious grace in the heavenly place
where the risen Lord has gone.
Annie Johnson Flint.
The day of resurrection?
Earth, tell it out abroad;
The Passover of gladness,
The Passover of God.
From death to life eternal,
From this world to the sky,
Our Christ hath brought us over
With hymns of victory.
Now let the heavens be joyful,
Let earth her song begin;
Let the round world keep triumph,
And all that is therein;
Let all things seen and unseen
Their notes in gladness blend,
For Christ the Lord hath risen,
Our Joy that hath no end.
John of Damascus.
Christ Jesus lay in death's strong bands,
For our offenses given;
But now at God's right hand He stands
And brings us life from heaven;
Therefore let us joyful be
And sing to God right thankfully
Loud songs of hallelujah.
It was a strange and dreadful strife
When Life and Death contended;
The victory remained with Life,
The reign of Death was ended;
Holy Scripture plainly saith
That Death is swallowed up by Death,
His sting is lost forever.
Then let us feast this Easter Day
On Christ, the Bread of Heaven;
The Word of Grace hath purged away
The old and evil leaven.
Christ alone our souls will feed.
He is our meat and drink indeed;
Faith lives upon no other.
Tomb, thou shalt not hold Him longer;
Death is strong, but Life is stronger;
Stronger than the dark, the light;
Stronger than the wrong, the right;
Faith and Hope triumphant say,
Christ will rise on Easter Day.