Every year there are a rash of television programs depicting various aspects of the crucifixion, burial, and resurrection of Christ the Messiah. There are also many debates as to whether Easter is a pagan holiday designed to bring together the Roman Empire during the 2nd Century. Then there are those who say that irrespective of the Roman politics or what other religions celebrate, during Easter the world celebrates Christ’s act of salvation on the cross, a reminder to all of the gift of salvation unto everlasting life. Many people have many different ways of commemorating this powerful event—Passover, Easter, Resurrection Day, First Fruits, among them. Point is, where is your heart?
We can debate the hypocrisy and commercialization, the political intentions, the historic facts. We can criticize various religious practices and their intent. But where does it land in your heart? The celebration of Christ’s death and resurrection is heart related. The gift of salvation, of everlasting life, is a treasure and it is manifest in the actions of our heart. For as Christ said in Matthew 6:21, “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” Please allow me to relay an Easter story of my heart, as told by Pastor William Agbeti in Ghana, West Africa, where prayers and resources demonstrate how actions here on earth lay up heavenly treasures.
Agbeti writes: “This year’s 2021 Easter celebrations, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, may forever be etched in the memories of a select group of needy children and their families as the most memorable! Some 38 parents, drawn from an underserved area in rural Ghana, together with 80 of their children, gathered at a local church to each receive a week’s supply of foodstuffs from our ministry. These parents and children experienced something that had never before occurred in their lives. The beneficiaries were organized with the help of our volunteers, in cooperation with a local church. Even at the last minute of presentation, many unlisted children and their parents poured in, and we had to reduce foodstuffs in each package, in order to take care of them.
“Dressed in their best for the Easter festivity, the parents and the children graced the occasion with neat and flowery attires. Five, ten or fifteen years from now, as these children look back on their lives, they will no doubt see the love of God even when they were yet children. To us in the ministry, every day is Christmas or Easter, as we share, care for and serve the needy with love. As testimonies pour in from beneficiaries for the love shown them, we are reminded of those who make it possible–God, through human instrumentalities, those who show by their actions the treasures of their hearts.”
On occasions like Easter, God’s children in Africa are not debating what Easter should be called or the politics or the hypocrisy. Even though many have very little, they come out of their homes. They dress their best before God. They celebrate their love for and the blessings of Christ. And in this case, their absolute joy for the salvation of the cross was made even greater knowing they could go back home and have meals for the rest of the week. This world is a very difficult and perilous place. It is becoming even more so. What I want to convey, and maybe I’m not quite able to give it proper justice, is that we need each other and a little kindness and love goes a long way, especially as we journey ahead in these increasingly difficult times. Blessings to you.