Easter celebrates Jesus’s resurrection

Ministers say the observance is as important as ever

Omar Flores (playing the role of Jesus) acts in a scene of the Passion play during a dress rehearsal Monday at St. Mary’s Catholic School. (Michael Bauer|Odessa American)

Easter Sunday is a magical time grounded in fact.

That’s according to the Revs. Ben Ford and Mike Atkins, who say the commemoration of Jesus Christ’s resurrection from the dead remains, along with Christmas, the biggest religious observance of the year.

Asked if Easter is as big as ever, the Rev. Ford said, “Yes, it is still something that Christians see as being extremely important for them to be a part of.

“There is something uniquely special about Easter. It’s not just a day to take time off or for the kids to get eggs and candy; it is the day that changed everything for the world as we know it.

“Even people who don’t fully understand still know there is something special about it, but for believers it is the day that allows us to experience life to the full and have the hope of Heaven,” said Ford, pastor of Grace Christian Fellowship.

He said his church’s average attendance is 280 at 10 a.m. Sundays and he expects a total of 500 in services at 9 and 11 a.m. this weekend.

Easter has added significance for Ford because he had been somewhat embarrassed to be baptized at age 11; however, at 16 he was re-baptized on Easter Sunday when he knew there would be a big crowd at the North Liberty, Ind., Church of Christ.

“I had drifted away in middle school because I’d been baptized the first time to please man, but God reignited the fire in my life and I said to myself, ‘I will never be embarrassed about something of God again.

“‘I’m doing this for Jesus.’”

Ford said Easter “is a time to tell the story of Jesus and allow the good news of the Gospel to sit on the hearts of people and hopefully to have some accept him for the first time.

“It’s a perfect time for anybody who has been out for awhile or who has never tried church to attend,” he said. “We have some fantastic churches here in Odessa where people can jump back in close to home.”

The Rev. Atkins, pastor of Kingston Avenue Baptist Church, said of the essentials of Easter, “Without it there would be no forgiveness and no eternal life, are forgotten in a lot of religious circles.

“What we will be looking at in our service is the fact of the resurrection, which is not historical writing or something that somebody thought up,” said Kingston, whose church will meet at 11 a.m. with an expected 75 people.

“It is a fact that Christ died for all of us. He didn’t pick a certain group or people from a certain walk of life. He did it because he loved all of us.

“Some people have an idea that eternal life is just some kind of a concept, but this is not a concept. It’s not just a great story or some historical thing that might have happened, it is a true picture of his love for us.”