The single most important event in early Christianity was the resurrection of our Lord, Jesus Christ. Long before the Church celebrated the birth of Jesus in the Christmas season, Christians celebrated the resurrection of Christ from the grave. In contemporary Christianity and secular society, Christmas now receives more interest than Easter, but early believers understood that the Church was established upon the suffering and resurrection of Christ. It was the resurrection of Christ that convinced the remaining Disciples of the truthfulness of what Jesus has preached. So convinced were they that Jesus was the true Messiah that they were willing to lay down their lives, confident that they too would enjoy resurrection power as a result of a vital relationship with the Savior of the world.
At this season of the year, the contemporary church should be deliberate in its desire to celebrate the resurrection of Christ. The ideas suggested below are provided for the sake of edifying local churches during what has historically been the most celebrated annual season. Though church leaders are not encouraged to employ all of the suggestions, a judicious leader will select that which is most appropriate for the local body of believers. It is with this hope and desire the following is offered for consideration.
Observance: Late March to first part of April
Holy Week in the Christian faith begins on Palm Sunday, the Sunday before Easter. In most non-liturgical or low churches, the various days of Jesus’ last week are not observed, with exception, perhaps, to the observance of Thursday and Friday of this week. In liturgical churches or high churches, the various days of this week are remembered in more distinct ways. In a world that increasingly seeks to conceal Christian symbols and observances, Christians should seek to celebrate the events of the Christian life as publically as possible without violating the principles of the faith to do so.Click to see our article: Holy Week
In early America, the Pilgrims and Puritans did not observe Christmas. They were earnest in their desire to rid their churches and personal observance of less-than-biblical and less-than-evangelical practices and ceremonies that had arisen in the Western Church. The result was a spiritual barrenness that settled upon subsequent generations in those states that birthed America. Pilgrim and Puritan Fathers in America over reacted to the spiritual influence of Anglicanism and Catholicism. In their efforts to purify the church, they left drabness upon the lives of believers.
Every generation must guard against a type of Christianity that is only form and has lost its evangelical zeal, but it must also guard against puritanical forces that refuse each generation the opportunity to present the glory of the Gospel to the world in a meaningful and biblical way. Just as stained-glass windows were attempts to teach previous generations basic biblical truth, church leaders today much seek meaningful ways to communicate the sinfulness of man, the holiness of God, and the redemption that is only in Jesus Christ (Acts 4:12).
Symbol is often one of the most powerful ways to communicate spiritual truth. The Service of the Cross is intended to communicate spiritual truth through the Word of God and symbol. This service may best be used on Thursday or Friday of Holy Week. The Gospel is presented around the biblical themes of “light” and “life” through a series of readings, interspersed with song and symbol. At the end of the service, members of the audience are given the opportunity to nail burdens or sins to the cross that has been placed at the front of the congregation. This service offers believers one of the most meaningful worship experiences of the church year.
Observance: As desired; each fifth-Sunday evening
In recent years, many church leaders have dismissed all manifestations of the Christian Church that is not of the most recent origin. Tragically, some believe songs should not be sung if they are of recent origin. Conversely, many believe that if songs have not been written in the last few years, they are archaic and have no contemporary value. One of the most important criteria for all of the Christian life and for those living on both sides of this debate is the fruit of the Spirit:
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. (Galatians 5:22-23)
It is right to expect that music from every generation, and sung by every generation, should evidence the fruit of the Spirit! If it does not evidence the best of love, the best of joy, the best of peace, it should not be sung. If it does not evidence the best of gentleness, if it does not evidence the best of self-control––not erotic lust––it should not be sung.
In America, public schools have destroyed academic excellence. Public schools have dumbed down America, and for this reason, Americans and Christians are not intellectually prepared to respond to the Muslim, economic, or other local, national, or global threats. But the Church in America, particularly fluid evangelical Protestants, bear great responsibility for the dumbing down of America. Presently, Christians know less and less about their Christian heritage. Both laity and clergy have thrown out two thousand years of Christian heritage and have left the Church in America anemic, unable to declare and celebrate the glory of the American Church and the global Church––unable because it is ignorant of its glory and is determined to remain so. Laity, pastors, district superintendents, general superintendents, bishops, and every office of the Christian Church share the responsibility to reverse this trend!
Creative means of relating the glory of the Gospel and the glory of the Christian Church must be sought and secured. One such attempt to tell a small part of the greatness of Christ and His Church is presented below in the songs of Christendom. It is hoped that these efforts might help to recapture Christianity’s family history!Click to read hymn history: George Bennard and the Old Rugged Cross
Special Prayer Service (Sunday Before National Day of Prayer)
Week of Prayer and Fasting (Week of National Day of Prayer)
Christian Home Month (May)
National Day of Prayer (First Thursday in May)
National Family Week
Aldersgate Day (Conversion of John Wesley)
Please click to see additional events for April . . .
April 12, 1861: Hostilities began on April 12, 1861, when Confederate forces fired upon Fort Sumter, a key fort held by Union troops in South Carolina.
April 14, 1759: George Frideric Handel (23 February 1685 – 14 April 1759) was a German-born British Baroque composer famous for his operas, oratorios, anthems and organ concertos.
April 14, 1865: While watching a performance of Our American Cousin at Ford’s Theater in Washington, President Abraham Lincoln was shot and mortally wounded. He was taken to a nearby house where he died the following morning at 7:22 a.m. Abraham Lincoln (February 12, 1809 – April 15, 1865) was the 16th President of the United States, serving from March 1861 until his assassination in April 1865.
April 15, 1912 – Just after midnight, the luxury liner Titanic struck and iceberg in the icy waters off Newfoundland with 2,224 persons on board. By 2:27 a.m., Titanic had sunk. Over 1,500 persons drowned while 700 were rescued by the liner Carpathia which arrived about two hours after Titanic went down.
April 15, 1870: Emma Hart Willard (February 23, 1787 – April 15, 1870) was an American women’s rights activist who dedicated her life to education. She worked in several schools and founded the first school for women’s higher education, the Troy Female Seminary in Troy, New York. With the success of her school, Willard was able to travel across the country and abroad, to promote education for women. The Troy Female Seminary was renamed the Emma Willard School in 1895 in her honor. For more information concerning his influence upon American education, see David Barton, Four Centuries of American Education, 39-40.
1983, April 15: Cornelia “Corrie” ten Boom (Amsterdam, The Netherlands April 15, 1892 – Placentia, California, April 15, 1983) was a Dutch Christian. Along with her father and other family members, Corrie helped many Jews escape the Nazi Holocaust during World War II and was imprisoned for it. She wrote her most famous book, The Hiding Place, about the ordeal. See our article: Imprisoned For Helping Jews Escape.
1775, April 19: War began at the Battles of Lexington and Concord. The Battles of Lexington and Concord were the first military engagements of the American Revolutionary War. They were fought on April 19, 1775, in Middlesex County, Province of Massachusetts Bay, within the towns of Lexington, Concord, Lincoln, Menotomy (present-day Arlington), and Cambridge, near Boston. The battles marked the outbreak of open armed conflict between the Kingdom of Great Britain and its thirteen colonies in the mainland of British North America.
April 25, 1800: William Cowper (26 November 1731 – 25 April 1800) was an English poet and hymnodist. One of the most popular poets of his time, Cowper changed the direction of 18th century nature poetry by writing of everyday life and scenes of the English countryside. In many ways, he was one of the forerunners of Romantic poetry. His religious sentiment and association with John Newton (who wrote the hymn “Amazing Grace”) led to much of the poetry for which he is best remembered. His poem “Light Shining out of Darkness” gave the English language the idiom “God moves in a mysterious way, His wonders to perform.”
April 30, 1789: George Washington inaugurated as first President of the United States
 See John Woodbridge, More Than Conquerors: Portraits of Believers from All Walks of Life.
 See John Woodbridge, More Than Conquerors: Portraits of Believers from All Walks of Life.