By Scott Robertson
The commemoration of Easter is, in the minds of many Christians, more central to the faith than the celebration of Christmas. Christmas gets more press because of its increasingly secular cultural surroundings, which make it more palatable to non-Christians (and the completely faithless, see also Festivus). However, it is Easter that separates Christianity from non-Christian religions, and Christ from other figures in the world’s religions.
This is the first of a two-part series of thoughts on Easter and its meaning. I’ll begin as I’m wont to do around holidays, by putting together a few thoughts about the season written or said by people much brighter, much more poetic, and in many cases, much more learned and devout, than me.
During the first 13 centuries after the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem, no one thought of setting up a creche to celebrate Christmas. The pre-eminent Christian holiday was Easter, not Christmas.
– Nancy Pearcey
The joyful news that He is risen does not change the contemporary world. Still before us lie work, discipline, sacrifice. But the fact of Easter gives us the spiritual power to do the work, accept the discipline, and make the sacrifice.
– Henry Knox Sherrill
Awake thou wintry Earth – Fling off they sadness!
Fair vernal flowers, laugh forth you ancient gladness!
Christ is risen!
– Thomas Blackburn
An Easter Hymn
A man who was completely innocent, offered himself as a sacrifice for the good of others, including his enemies, and became the ransom of the world. It was a perfect act.
– Mahatma Gandhi
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.
– Phillip Brooks
An Easter Carol
But from this earth, this grave, this dust, My God shall raise me up, I trust.
– Sir Walter Raleigh
It is the hour to rend thy chains, the blossom time of souls.
– Katherine Lee Bates
“Welome happy morning!” age to age shall say.
Hell today is vanquished; Heaven is won today.
– Bishop Fortunatus of Poitiers
“Christ the Lord is risen today,”
Sons of men and angels say;
Raise your joys and triumphs high;
Sing, ye heavens, and Earth reply.
– Charles Wesley
Christ the Lord is Risen
Rise, heart; thy Lord is risen.
Sing his praise without delays.
Who takes thee by the hand likewise
with him mayst rise;
that as His death calcined thee to dust,
His life may make thee gold,
and much more, just.
– George Herbert
The Church: Easter
Easter, so longed for, is gone in a day.
– James Howell
God expects from men that their Easter devotions would in some measure come up to their Easter dress.
– Robert South
Thou art the Sun of other days;
They shine by giving back thy rays.
– John Keble
The Christian Year: Easter Day
The resurrection gives my life meaning and direction and the opportunity to start over no matter what my circumstances.
– Robert Flatt
On Easter Day the veil between time and eternity thins to gossamer.
– Douglas Horton
In the bonds of death he lay
Who for our offence was slain;
But the Lord is risen to-day
Christ has brought us life again.
Where fore let us all rejoice,
Singing loud with cheerful voice,
In the Bonds of Death
Tis easier to keep holidays than commandments.
Spring bursts to-day,
For Christ is risen and all the Earth’s at play!
– Christina Rosetti
The Easter Bunny? It’s a lie and I don’t understand why we had to invent this character.
– Todd Rundgren
He who on the cross a victim
For the world’s salvation bled,
Jesus Christ the King of Glory,
Now is risen from the dead.
– Christopher Wordsworth
Our Lord has written the promise of the resurrection, not in books alone, but in every leaf in springtime.
– Martin Luther
Faith is like a lilly, lifted high and white.
Lift your glad voices in triumph on high;
For Jesus hath risen and man cannot die.
– Henry Wake Jr.
Lift Your Glad Voices
Jesus Christ is risen today,
Our triumphant holy day;
Who did once upon the cross
Suffer to redeem our loss.
– Unknown author
15th century Latin hymn
Death when to death a death by death have given,
Then shall be open the long-shut gates of Heaven.
– Tombstone, Cambridgeshire, England
Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the Earth.
– Matthew 28:20
The hands of Christ seem very frail,
For they were broken by a nail.
But only they reach Heaven at last
Whom these frail, broken hands hold fast.
– John Richard Moreland
In vain with stone the cave they barred;
In vain the watch kept, ward and guard;
Majestic fro the spoiled tomb
In pomp of triumph Christ is come.
– John Mason Neale
Life up your voices
Christ is risen, Christ, the first-fruits
Of the holy harvest field,
Which will of its full abundance
At his second coming yield.
Christ is Risen
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whomsoever believeth in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.
– John 3:16