Announcement by Earthquake and Church Bell

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"After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb. There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards shook and became like dead men."—Matthew 28:1-4

There was an earthquake when Jesus died. Only Matthew records the fact of another earthquake when he rose from the dead. It was a VIOLENT earthquake. The resurrection of Jesus was literally an earthshaking event!

An earthquake gets everyone's attention. At the time Jesus was born, not many people paid attention. But God wanted all the people of that time to become aware of Jesus' resurrection. But how many people made the connection between the earthquake and Jesus' resurrection?

When I served the wonderful congregation of the Lamont CRC as its pastor from 1979 to 1986, the custodian rang the church bell every Sunday (resurrection day) morning at 9 am and again at 9:25 am for the 9:30 service. Then again the bell was rung at 5:30 pm and 5:55 pm for the 6 pm evening service. The bell called us to worship the risen Lord Jesus! We were glad to hear the bell.

Billy Graham told about the church bell of Feldkirk, Austria. Napoleon and the French army invaded Austria in the spring of 1813. That army advanced to within six miles of Feldkirk. The Austrian army was too far away to help and it appeared that Feldkirk would be invaded. But as Napoleon's army advanced, the Christians in Feldkirk gathered to pray. Hour after hour they pleaded with God to save the town. It was Easter eve.

The next morning—at sunrise—the bell of the village church rang out over the town and countryside. Napoleon's officers, not realizing that it was Easter Sunday, suspected that the Austrian army had moved into Feldkirk during the night and that the bell was ringing for joy. They ordered a retreat and the battle of Feldkirk never took place. The bell of Easter brought peace!

After the women heard the message of the angel, they were not allowed to stay at the grave and meditate. This was the time for action! "So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid, yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples."

Our reaction is to be the same. We go in person, by prayer, and by purse to tell the world: He who was dead is alive forever and is coming back soon!

Because many people in the world cannot read a printed Bible, my way of helping to tell the world is by supporting and promoting the work of Audio Scripture Ministries based in Holland, Michigan. 

We've a story to tell to the nations

That will turn their hearts to the right,

A story of truth and mercy, 

A story of peace and light,

A story of peace and light.

For the darkness shall turn to dawning,

And the dawning to noonday bright,

And Christ's great kingdom shall come to earth,

The kingdom of love and light. 

H. Ernest Nichol

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