Though American churches are trying out the art of making pysanka, Ukrainian Christians say it is not a religious tradition. To do the ancient Ukrainian practice of pysanky, you need a strong, smooth egg and a lot of patience. North American churches are taking up the delicate egg decorating art form, dating back thousands of years, as a way of showing solidarity with and raising money for war-torn Ukraine ahead of Easter. A number of Episcopal churches in the United States have hosted pysanky events as a “form of prayer” for Ukraine. A Catholic community in Ontario, Canada, said it…

The Easter season is a celebration of the Gospel. As we remember Jesus’ passion, death on the cross, and triumphant resurrection from the grave, we aren’t just marking an anniversary. We are remembering that, in the words of Paul, “when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us” (Titus 3:4–5). Holy Week is a time to recall God’s magnificent work of salvation. But what actually is salvation? In our secular age, we can’t take for granted that the words “He saved us” will mean anything whatsoever to the average person walking down the street. If…

By Sherri Gragg One minute, six days before Easter morning, I was making my way down the narrow staircase of a 200-year-old log cabin on a friend’s farm; the next minute, I was sprawled across the hardwood floors, clutching my knee in agony. Everything in me raged: against gravity, against socks on stairs, against my aging body, against all the things I wouldn’t be able to do with an injured knee, against looming doctors’ appointments and hours spent in physical therapy. While I was at it, I raged against menopause too! For the next 24 hours, I hobbled around the…

As we enter the days and weeks before Easter, it’s appropriate for us to set aside time to reflect on the astonishing truth that Christ Jesus, the Son of God, came in order to die that broken sinners could have their sins forgiven and be reconciled to God. We hope that the resources listed below will be helpful to you as you contemplate this wonderful gift. The Cross of Christ By John Stott At the cross, preacher John Stott finds the majesty and love of God disclosed and the sin and bondage of the world exposed. More than a study…

The New Testament You Never Knew Online Bible Study with N.T. Wright Starts March 8 Bible scholars N.T. Wright and Michael F. Bird say the New Testament is filled with startling and unforeseen twists. According to Wright, “When we see Jesus announcing the kingdom of God saying the time is fulfilled, this is the time for God to become King, we also see Jesus doing all kinds of things like healing people and celebrating with all the ‘wrong’ kinds of folk, and then explaining that this is what it looks like when God becomes King. It is not what people…

The New Testament You Never Knew Online Bible Study with N.T. Wright Starts March 8 Bible scholars N.T. Wright and Michael F. Bird say the New Testament is filled with startling and unforeseen twists. According to Wright, “When we see Jesus announcing the kingdom of God saying the time is fulfilled, this is the time for God to become King, we also see Jesus doing all kinds of things like healing people and celebrating with all the ‘wrong’ kinds of folk, and then explaining that this is what it looks like when God becomes King. It is not what people…

The book of Hebrews encouraged believers in the early church to remain steadfast in their faith by pointing to saints in the Old Testament—men like Noah, Abraham, Jacob, and Joseph, all of whom trusted unwaveringly in God’s promises and who were enabled to achieve great things in God’s name. The writer to the Hebrews presents these faithful saints as examples for Christians to follow and inspiringly refers to them as “a great cloud of witnesses.” This idea of drawing encouragement from believers who came before us and served God devotedly to the end is the premise for the Easter devotional…

For decades, Christians in Jordan have celebrated what Pope Francis pines for. Last Sunday, after weeks of living in pajamas while confined to our homes in coronavirus quarantine, my family attended the Palm Sunday services at the Amman Baptist Church in Jordan. We woke up early, showered, shaved, fixed our hair, put on our Sunday best, and then traveled the long distance from the bedroom to the living room to watch the livestreamed songs and sermon celebrating the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem. The timetable above is not an error. While evangelicals around the world joined Catholics in commemorating…

During the locked-down holiday, 40.6 million people read Scripture on the popular app. More people logged onto the YouVersion Bible App to read and share Scripture this Easter than any other time in the app’s decade-plus history. Easter is typically the busiest day for the app, and with the majority of Christians celebrating the holiday online, Sunday’s stats far exceeded the record set in 2019. This year, 40.6 million people completed daily reading plans on Easter, up 54 percent. During Holy Week, another 14.1 million people shared verses, up 30 percent from the year before. Overall, around a third of…

N.T. Wright responds to his Time article on lament In a timely article last month, professor N. T. Wright addressed our collective anxiety as Christians living during the coronavirus pandemic by assuring us our faith offers no answers. At least not the answers we want. He asserts that our quest for reasons results from Christianity’s faulty reliance on rationalism. “Rationalists (including Christian rationalists) want explanations; Romantics (including Christian romantics) want to be given a sigh of relief.” But what do we do when God gives us neither explanations nor relief? Wright says we lament. Citing T. S. Eliot (in “East…

Today, maybe more so than in a long time, people are looking for answers; people are looking for hope; people are looking for a savior. During the current “shelter in place,” I’ve found myself catching up on seasons of Criminal Minds. I admit, it’s a pretty dark show as it is about the FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Unit (BAU), which is tasked with finding and capturing serial killers. Think about the ‘dark’ plot of the show Criminal Minds. Serial killers are on the loose, wreaking havoc, and the local police or sheriff departments aren’t equipped to hunt down such dark criminals….

From drive-in services in Florida and Germany to hymns in the streets of New York, Easter Sunday celebrations emerged in all shapes and sizes.

By Max Lucado [Sign up to receive the once-a-week free email devotional, An Encouraging Word from Max Lucado] There has been much discussion recently over what to believe. Are the coronavirus numbers accurate? Are the reports from other countries dependable? Dare we be optimistic about treatments and vaccines? Like you, I’ve struggled to separate caution from overreaction. There was one headline, however, that we can quickly discard. Don’t believe it. Don’t fall for it. The message just ain’t true. Here it is: “Easter Canceled.” The article detailed the sad reality that most church sanctuaries will be closed this coming Sunday….

As a widow, I have newfound appreciation for why the mourning of Holy Saturday is indispensable to the journey toward joy. The most striking of my childhood church memories occurred during our parish’s Good Friday service each year. At the end of the service, with the lights dimmed, our pastor would draw a black drape across the altar at the front of the sanctuary. As a child, the gesture reminded me of physicians I’d seen in old Hollywood movies draping the deceased. No doubt the allusion was intended. A black cloth hung on the cross above the altar, the sanctuary…

Jesus’ unnatural resurrection helps us fear not. Empty churches on Easter Sunday around the world represent an image that, until this year, would have made sense only in a fever-pitched 1990s end-times novel. Yet, in the middle of a global pandemic, that will now be our reality. The grief that Christians already face over missing their church services for necessary social distancing will intensify when it comes to the preeminent day on the Christian calendar. But if we pay attention, we may see something new and holy about Easter in quarantine. And that something is fear. At first glance, fear…

Whether COVID-19 or ISIS, believers from Iraq, Syria, and Egypt know “neither plague nor persecution can snuff out the church of Christ.” Christians around the world are about to lose their usual Easter celebration—the highlight of most congregations’ annual life together. Yes, there will be a livestream. Their pastor will likely call them. They may even chat on Zoom with friends and family. But it will be different. The community of believers has been sundered by the new coronavirus. And threatened with it is Christ’s body, his bride, his temple for his presence in the world. If there is any…

A typical Holy Week is out of reach this year. That’s cause for lament—and celebration. A pastor friend lamented this week, “All our Easter plans are shot. We are gutted—our entire vision and hard work are down the drain!” Another colleague said to me that he openly wept on a staff Zoom call when he finally gave in to the realization that there was no way, given social distancing rules, to pull off the normal joys of Holy Week. He said, “This is unthinkable; it’s worse than the Cubs not playing baseball!” Many leaders I am talking to fear that…

Archaeological Lessons Offer Clearer Bible Understanding Advances in archaeology science are allowing archaeologists in Israel to continually find ancient mosaics, altars, temples, and villages that corroborate and clarify the stories of the Bible. Using research of top scholars in the fields of archaeology, history, and biblical study, historian and bestselling author Ray Vander Laan has guided more than 10,000 people on in-depth study tours of the Holy Land. His teaching ministry is focused on understanding the Bible keeping in mind the historical and cultural context in which God placed it. Beginning March 9, 2020, the most visited Christian website in…

Some of the angriest comments I’ve ever received came on a post I wrote about Easter. I honestly forgot that some Christians are very upset about the use of a(n allegedly) “pagan” word to describe the preeminent Christian holiday. Here’s what one commenter wrote: Easter is a bad translation of a word that does not appear in the original language.… Easter is a carryover from the Greco-Roman world; which was engulfed in sun-worship…. The holiday and the word should be changed back to Passover. This was one of the best comments from the say-no-to-Easter perspective: it was clear, avoided ad…

This is a blog with a very specific audience. I know it may exclude some of you, but it may be healthy for you to eavesdrop. This is for all the church planters and their volunteers on post-Easter Monday. I don’t know how Easter Sunday went for you, but I have a hunch…

Kirbyjon Caldwell has used business as an extension of his Houston ministry for decades. Now, a Chinese bonds deal has gotten him in trouble with the SEC. Thousands of worshipers at a Methodist megachurch in Houston didn’t expect to hear from their pastor’s lawyer on Easter morning. The special guest dropped in to speak days after Kirbyjon Caldwell—a prominent Texas pastor and former spiritual adviser to presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama—was charged with more than a dozen crimes in an alleged fraud scheme. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) alleges that Caldwell and his financial planner misled investors…