Monday, May 3, 2010

Many Americans Do Not Understand Easter

For six weeks the church lives in the glow of Easter. "He is risen, He is risen indeed!" echoes between pastor and people. Bright white or gold colored paraments adorn the altar, indicating a special "Christ time" of the church year. It would be hard to believe that anyone active in their congregation would miss the significance of all this. Yet outside those hallowed walls many remain clueless. According to a Barna Study group less than half of U.S. adults surveyed specifically associate Easter with Jesus' resurrection. Seven in 10 who responded indicated religion or spirituality when answering the question of what Easter means to them. Only 42% linked Easter to the Resurrection. Aside from Jesus' rising from the dead, how else might people see this special day? Others see it as a Christian holiday, a celebration of God or Jesus, a celebration of Passover, a holy day, or simply a special day to attend church.

It is amazing that after all the years of evangelism and outreach by Christian churches over the decades that so much ignorance still exists. Yet much ignorance, unfortunately, also exists within the church itself, at least among the moderately active ones. This is why I go to great lengths to make sure people see and hear the connection between the Easter miracle and the hope of life eternal at funerals. This is by far my greatest opportunity to preach Christ risen, especially to the unchurched Barna identified. However, it is still sobering to think there remain so many who do not know this great hope.

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