Easter is such a wonderful opportunity for us as the church. Paul said “if Christ has not been raised…we are of all people most to be pitied” (1Cor15:17,19 ESV). So many people, even those who seem quite genuine about embracing some kind of Christian faith, stumble on the idea of the Resurrection. I read an article from BBC News in which a lady, the leader of something called the ‘modern church’, said that we leave behind the beliefs of Sunday School in order to become adults. Funnily enough Jesus said exactly the opposite – “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven” (Mat18:3 ESV). I think I will go with Jesus on this one, so it is with great joy that we can confess, along with the Apostle, “But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead.” (1Cor15:20).
What have we been up to?
This is what the NISCU schools workers have been up to over the last few weeks, proclaiming the resurrection of Jesus. There’s been puppet shows and assemblies and lessons, the Great Creme Egg Hunt (ask a schools worker!) and the Walk Through Easter. This latter was a series of stations that groups of children visited, each telling a different part of the easter story.
For many children, this was the first time that they had been able to put together all the different bits of the story in one narrative – the last supper, the Garden of Gethsemane, the trial, the cross, the empty tomb and finishing on the Road to Emmaus. At the empty tomb, with its witnesses of the Roman soldier, Mary Magdalene and Thomas, children looked at the evidence for the resurrection and had the chance to cast their vote. That Jesus rose from the dead, or that he didn’t, or they didn’t know.
The Results are In!
Well over 400 children ‘walked through Easter’, of whom 60% from church schools, and 55% from county schools on average voted that they believed that Jesus rose from the dead, while around 17% thought He didn’t. The rest (around 25%) were not sure. The most interesting was the County (non church) school in which over 80% of the children thought Jesus rose from the dead – there were still the 17% who didn’t, the difference was that in this school there were hardly any ‘don’t knows’ and they had all chosen to believe in the resurrection. That should tell us something – there are a lot of ‘don’t knows’ out there who, if presented with the evidence, are much more likely to believe than not. That should give us great hope that in sharing our faith, we can make a significant difference.
‘I’ve accidentally put three ticks on it!’
So much for statistics, but its the real life stories that put flesh on the bones, isn’t it? For me the stand out stories were the Year 4 boy, getting up from our mock up of the Road to Emmaus, saying ‘I’ve been praying for my Granny’ and proceeded to tell me what he had been praying, so full of compassion it left me with a tear in my eye. And the Year 3 girl at the empty tomb who showed me her voting slip saying ‘I’ve accidentally put three ticks on it!’ and there it was, three bold ticks all saying she believed that Jesus rose from the dead. I would that we were all that emphatic!
So here is the challenge – how do you vote on the Resurrection, and who are you telling about it? Me, I’m ‘accidentally’ putting three hearty ticks to ‘He is Risen indeed!’