Every year since 1997, people in North Korea have celebrated April 15th as “The Day of the Sun”. It’s apparently the most important holiday the nation has where they celebrate the anniversary of Kim Il-sung’s birthday. He was the founder of North Korea and its former president, who—were he still alive and kicking—would be 105 years old.
The citizens of North Korea go all out for The Day of the Sun with a big parade where children get candy. But don’t look for floats made of paper flowers or clowns from the Shriner’s Club trying to get some laughs out of spectators by driving around in tiny cars. This parade is highlighted by showing off its weapons of war. Lots of them. Current president Kim Jong Un was there and he’s all about the fire power.
As all this took place yesterday, Christians here and around the world prepared to celebrate a different kind of power—the resurrection power of Jesus Christ—on this day, Easter Sunday. After remembering his suffering and violent death on Good Friday, we wait through the silence of Saturday to get to the joy of Sunday morning.
What a striking contrast of two celebrations. One that remembers a man who started a communist nation and celebrates by flaunting its military might that could wipe out millions of lives in mere moments. The other, held in gratitude and remembrance for a man who was God in the flesh—Jesus, the Son of God. Believers all over the world celebrate not so much the death of Jesus, but His life. What makes it so different is the empty tomb.
The man celebrated by North Koreans this weekend died and he stayed dead. His bones are still lying in his grave. But, with the power of God His Father, Jesus the Son rose again on the third day, and the Good News is—He’s alive and His Spirit lives in anyone who puts their faith in Him to forgive their sins. Jesus, the One Who Saves, beat death once and for all…and because of Him, so can we.
Now that’s real power—and that’s something to celebrate.
By now, you might be hoping that Punxsutawney Phil considers a different career path other than meteorology before next February. People have been blaming him for the less-than-spring-like temperatures that most of the nation has been having this month after he predicted an early spring. Did they call him a fraud last year when he said there’d be six more weeks of winter, but then we had summer temperatures in March? Probably not—the poor critter can’t get a break. He’s even got an Ohio lawyer on his tail. Butler County prosecutor Mike Gmoser issued an “indictment” against him today, accusing him of “misrepresentation of spring”. Gmoser alleges that Phil misled people to believe that spring would make an early arrival and that he acted “with prior calculation and design”. He even wants Phil’s punishment for his “crime” to be the “death penalty”. It sounds like Butler County, OH is running low on criminals to prosecute…surely this is all just for fun. However, I wouldn’t want to jump to conclusions—people, after all, have gone to court for some pretty petty reasons.
One of Phil’s long-time handlers, John Griffiths, stands by his furry friend, confident that he’s innocent of these “charges”. He added, “Maybe there’s just a dark cloud over Ohio.” Mr. Griffiths may be onto something. I’ve driven from one end of Ohio to another many times, and no matter how sunny it may be when I get there, by the time I hit Columbus, the weather seems to take a turn for the worse. That said, when it comes to predicting the weather, people shouldn’t put too much faith in what a groundhog says about it…but he does have a better track record than Al Gore.
Another animal that may have to look for a new gig is the Easter Bunny. He’s been banned from at least one elementary school’s Easter—oops—HOLIDAY festivities…in Madison, Alabama of all places! The principal of Heritage Elementary School, Lydia Davenport, in the interest of “religious diversity” has banned not just the Easter bunny, but also the eggs! Davenport told WHNT that because kids love the bunny, “We just make sure we don’t say ‘the Easter bunny’ so that we don’t infringe on the rights of others because people relate the Easter bunny to religion.”
HUH??? So what we have here is a holiday egg hunt without the eggs and a generic creature walking around that looks like a rabbit, but he’s not an Easter Bunny? Since when have a bunny or an egg ever been religious symbols? If she were really trying to teach religious diversity to children, Davenport and her teachers would welcome the opportunity to expose them to various religious traditions, of which colorful eggs carried by a giant bunny wearing a bow are included. Ms. Davenport, like so many public educators before her, is just bowing to the god of political correctness. It’s the same political correctness that brought us “holiday trees” and “holiday sales” at Christmastime. They’ve already successfully taken the “Independence” out of Independence Day by using the generic Fourth of July name, but maybe we can soon expect to see “holiday fireworks”. Things no longer make sense.
If you are one to welcome religious diversity and want to celebrate the real story of Easter, be sure to watch the last episode of The Bible this Easter Sunday on the History Channel. The story of the death and resurrection of Jesus will be shown, as will select stories through Revelation. It’s well worth the time and has been a ratings winner for the cable network. As of March 21st, the series has reached 70 million viewers, which should prove to the politically correct crowd that people are starving for the Word of God.