By: Jack Swift
Johnson County Historian
At this writing Easter has come and gone. As for my wife Mary and me, we had a quiet time at home following church services Sunday morning. A great gospel message, great special music and fellowship marked the occasion at First Christian Church as was the case I am sure for many, many other Christians in Johnson County and around the world. For me, Easter is a time of joy because of the belief that Jesus Christ’s resurrection made it possible for all who embrace his teachings and obey his commandments may also have new life in Him. So indeed, there should be peace in knowing that Christ paid the price for our salvation. But, I am also reminded that the without the cross there would have been no resurrection. And without His resurrection, we would be without hope. Jesus Christ’s horrible, painful death on the cross paid the price for our sins and I believe Easter should invoke a sense of thankfulness to God for His lovely grace as we meditate on that great church holiday.It is interesting to me that the date for Easter moves around from date to date. Instead of Easter being a fixed day on the calendar. An article in The New Book of Knowledge explains it as follows: “Easter Sunday is the day on which Christians celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Christianity was founded on the belief that Jesus, a Jewish religious teacher, was the Son of God, that he was executed on a cross by the Romans about 2,000 years ago, and that three days after his death, he was resurrected. Easter is celebrated in church services with joyful music and symbols of new life such as flowers and new clothes.” I would add that another important part of the Easter service is the Word of God preached and the story of God’s grace and Jesus’ sacrifice told and explained. The encyclopedia goes on to tell the reason Easter is not on a fixed date every year. The book says that in most Christian churches Easter falls sometime between March 22 and April 25. It falls on the first Sunday after the first moon following March 21, the vernal equinox (the time in spring when day and night are of equal length). The book also says the date of Easter Sunday was established by the church council of Nicaea in A. D. 325. Although Easter Sunday has passed for another year, we should remember what is inherent in the Message of Easter: Thankfulness for God’s unfathomable love and grace and Jesus Christ’s heroic and amazing love for making the sacrifice for our sins.