During my childhood, Easter was often referred to as “Resurrection Sunday.”  Those of us who are Christians understand the reference, but in today’s society, many people do not.  Jesus, the Son of God, came into our world as a baby.  He was born to a mother who was a virgin; His Father was God Himself.  Jesus began His ministry to others around the age of thirty.  The Bible records His story in four different Gospels, located in the New Testament; there are also many prophecies of His coming in Old Testament books.  The reason we celebrate Easter is found toward the end of each Gospel; the following is a brief synopsis.

It was Friday, and the disciples of Jesus were mourning the loss of their beloved Master.  They had experienced His call to join Him on His earthly journey.  They had listened to Him teach.  They had witnessed His many miracles.  Now Jesus lay sealed in a tomb, guarded by Roman soldiers to make sure no one stole His body.  The man they recognized as the Messiah is dead.  There would be no earthly kingdom, and the Romans would continue to oppress the Jewish nation.  Their hearts were filled with sorrow, and their hope lay in the grave with their Master. 

Others mourned, too.  Women that had traveled with Jesus and His disciples were just as grief-stricken as the men.  How could this travesty of justice have happened?  Why did the Jewish leaders have to see Jesus as a threat?  Why did they want to execute a man that had brought such love and compassion to the common people?  And yet many of the ones that had witnessed His care were shouting, “Crucify Him!” just hours earlier.  The whole scenario didn’t make sense.

The hours of the Sabbath crept by.  Some of the women had prepared spices to anoint Jesus’ body.  Walking toward the tomb, wondering how they were going to move the stone that sealed His grave, the women courageously went about their task.  Arriving at their destination, they were astonished to see that the stone was already rolled back, and the grave was empty.  Inside the tomb was a man dressed in white.  He uttered the words, “He has risen; He is not here.“  Later that day, one of the women witnessed the risen Lord for herself.  In the following days, all of the disciples and many more people besides saw the living Christ.  The miracle of Resurrection morning transformed their mourning into joy. 

Many have tried to disprove the account of Jesus’ resurrection.  However, secular history bears witness to the Biblical narrative.  More than a few people who have set out to discredit Christianity have researched its claims and ended up embracing the very thing they hated.  Often, they write about their findings.  An example is the book Cold Case Christianity by J. Warner Wallace.  Written by a detective who specializes in solving cold case crimes, he used the techniques developed in that field to put Christianity to the test, hoping to be able to destroy any confidence in that belief system.  The overwhelming evidence convinced him otherwise.

Good news is found in the Gospel of Jesus.  Salvation was made possible by the crucifixion through the atoning blood of Christ’s sacrifice, and hope flourishes in light of the resurrection.  It is for that reason that churches around the world will celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus this coming Sunday, and I plan to join my church congregation in the worship of a Risen Lord!

Some of us will be preparing Easter dinner; here are some recipes I tried with that in mind.  They all turned out well and could accompany whatever main dish is chosen.  The dressing may be used with different salad greens, even the pre-packaged variety.

Dilled Baby Carrots

3/4 cup white wine vinegar

1/2 cup water

3/8 cup honey

1 teaspoon dried whole dillweed

1/2 teaspoon mixed pickling spices

Dash of salt

1 pound baby carrots

Combine first 6 ingredients in a saucepan; bring to a boil.  Add carrots; cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 10-14 minutes or until crisp-tender.  Remove from heat; pour mixture into a plastic or metal container; set container in a bowl of ice water to cool quickly. Chill.  Remove from liquid before serving.  Yield: 12 to 15 appetizer servings.

Tangy Salad Dressing

1 (8-ounce) carton commercial sour cream

2 tablespoons chopped pimiento

1 tablespoon minced green onion (or fresh chives)

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1/2 teaspoon sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon celery seeds

1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

Combine all ingredients, mixing well.  Cover and chill.  Serve over salad greens. 

Yield: about 1-1/4 cups.

Quick Yeast Muffins

1 package (2-1/4 teaspoons) dry yeast

2 cups lukewarm water (105 to 115 degrees)

3/4 cup butter, melted

1/4 cup sugar

1 egg

4 cups self-rising flour

Dissolve yeast in warm water; set mixture aside.

Combine butter, sugar, and egg in large bowl; beat well.  Stir in yeast mixture.  Gradually add flour, stirring well.  Cover and store in refrigerator until ready to bake.  (May use immediately.)  Mixture may be stored in refrigerator for 2 days in an airtight container.

To bake, spoon batter into greased muffin pans, filling 2/3 full.  (Yeast does not require time to rise in this recipe.)  Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes.  Yield: 2 dozen.

Strawberry Swirl

1 cup graham cracker crumbs

1 tablespoon sugar

1/4 cup butter, melted

2 cups sliced strawberries

2 tablespoons sugar

4-1/2 cups miniature marshmallows

1/2 cup milk

1 cup whipping cream

1 (3-ounce) package strawberry-flavored gelatin

1 cup boiling water

Combine cracker crumbs, 1 tablespoon sugar, and butter; mix well. Press into 9-inch square baking pan; chill at least 1 hour.

Combine strawberries and 2 tablespoons sugar; stir gently.  Let stand 45 minutes; drain, reserving juice.  Set berries aside.  Add enough water to juice to make 1 cup; set aside.

Combine marshmallows and milk in small saucepan; cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until marshmallows melt.  Cool completely.  Beat whipping cream until stiff peaks form; fold gently into marshmallow mixture.

Dissolve gelatin in boiling water; stir in reserved strawberry juice mixture.  Chill until the consistency of unbeaten egg white; stir in strawberries.

Pour marshmallow mixture into gelatin; fold in slightly, leaving a swirled effect.  Pour into prepared crust; chill until set.  Yield: about 9 servings.