As Easter approaches, believers around the world turn their minds to the Easter story and contemplate upon the love and mercy of God for mankind. In many walks of life, Easter is just another public holiday that has lost its original Christian ethos. Easter eggs, the magical Easter Bunny, and images of fluffy chicks have become frontline Easter banners. Unfortunately, in the midst of all this extraneous commercial fodder, we have forgotten why we celebrate Easter. Commercialism has all but annihilated the meaning of Easter.
Easter: the story of why Jesus, who was both truly man and God, left heaven to walk on earth; the eternal triumph of good over evil, of life over death, with the God who ‘so loved the world that He gave us His only Son, that whosoever believes in Him, should not perish but have everlasting life.’ (John 3:16) Does it sound too good to be true? Even a fairytale perhaps? Contemporary accounts have testified to the life of Jesus and His death and resurrection. For many who seek the truth, where their spirits affirm the reality of Christ’s gift to mankind, the story of Easter has become the cornerstone of their faith and life.
I actually began this post in order to share one of my favourite hymns which I think tells the Easter story very well indeed. Written between 1912 and 1913 by George Bennard, ‘The Old Rugged Cross’ ‘speaks of the writer’s Christian experience’ and a working version was first performed in January 1913. ‘Charles H Gabriel, a well-known gospel-song composer helped Bennard with the harmonies. The completed version was then performed on June 7th, 1913, by a choir of five, accompanied by a guitar,’ and published in 1915.’ (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Old_Rugged_Cross)
- On a hill far away stood an old rugged cross,
The emblem of suff’ring and shame;
And I love that old cross where the dearest and best
For a world of lost sinners was slain.
So I’ll cherish the old rugged cross,
Till my trophies at last I lay down;
I will cling to the old rugged cross,
And exchange it some day for a crown.
- Oh, that old rugged cross, so despised by the world,
Has a wondrous attraction for me;
For the dear Lamb of God left His glory above
To bear it to dark Calvary.
- In that old rugged cross, stained with blood so divine,
A wondrous beauty I see,
For ’twas on that old cross Jesus suffered and died,
To pardon and sanctify me.
- To the old rugged cross I will ever be true;
Its shame and reproach gladly bear;
Then He’ll call me some day to my home far away,
Where His glory forever I’ll share.
To listen to a rendition of ‘The Old Rugged Cross’, please click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CltrLsjsQl0
The old rugged cross? It is a lifeline in the face of frantic activity, confusion and mayhem. It is the Lord Jesus Christ Himself serenading us, calling us to accept His free gift of salvation and eternal life. It is the King of Kings promising to walk our earthly journey alongside us if we will but take His hand and walk with Him until that day when we see Him face to face.
May the Lord bless you this Easter and always.