Resurrection Sunday is more apt a descriptive phrase for Easter Sunday, and it’s not merely semantics.
In this day and age, with humanity’s penchant for symbolism, Easter Sunday has come to mean colorful boiled eggs and, for many Christian Filipinos, stuffed toys called bunnies—in the absence of real rabbits. Easter has metamorphosed into variations of parlor games for children as encouraged by adults. To put it more accurately, it has been systematically institutionalized by most parents both Christians and non-Christians.
Like Christmas, the Holy Week has been trivialized by commerce.
No wonder the Pew Research Center has released timely data on religions of the world, with conclusive evidence that should raise the alarm bells for Christian leaders.
“The religious profile of the world is rapidly changing, driven primarily by differences in fertility rates and the size of youth populations among the world’s major religions, as well as by people switching faiths,” the group said in a statement released along with the results earlier this month.
“Over the next four decades, Christians will remain the largest religious group, but Islam will grow faster than any other major religion . . .”
What the numbers are saying is that more and more people would no longer adhere to the organized system of belief that because God loved humanity so much he sent his only son, Jesus Christ, to die on the cross to atone for the sins of mankind and to make it possible for man to enter heaven.
“If current demographic trends continue, however, Islam will nearly catch up by the middle of the 21st century. Between 2010 and 2050, the world’s total population is expected to rise to 9.3 billion, a 35 percent increase. Over that same period, Muslims—a comparatively youthful population with high fertility rates—are projected to increase by 73 percent. The number of Christians is also projected to rise, but more slowly, at about the same rate (35 percent) as the global population overall.”
As a result, according to the Pew Research projections, by 2050 there will be near parity between Muslims (2.8 billion, or 30 percent of the population) and Christians (2.9 billion, or 31 percent), possibly for the first time in history.
If leaders of Christian churches have the compulsion to do something about it, they must face these questions squarely for starters:
Why are Christians leaving the church?
Why is there so much factionalism among church leaders and within the congregation?
What is happening to the credibility of church leadership?
What must the leadership do to address such issues?
Perhaps, the Christian believers themselves may also do well to refresh their memory of the series of events that had led to the Lord Jesus Christ’s Resurrection, which is the basic foundation of the faith to which they adhere:
There would have been no Resurrection Sunday if there were no Good Friday.
And on Maundy Thursday, Jesus gave the apostles the means from a loving God for mankind to merit heaven. He showed them that man had to serve fellowmen humbly and do even the work of a slave (like washing others’ feet) to help one another. He instituted the Holy Eucharist, the sacrament that would miraculously help man become more and more like Christ himself.
He did everything that was laid out for him to do in accordance with his Father’s grand plan of salvation that gives every believer freedom from the shackles of sin and death and the gift of resurrection to live an everlasting life.