bits from bob....

A Changing World: Are We in Danger of Suffocating Easter?

by Bob Young
[permission is given to reprint with credit noted]

I like Easter. It is a pure religious holiday. Of all of the religious holidays, the Easter tradition is pure Christianity. In fact, it is the heart of Christianity. Without Easter resurrection, there is no Christianity. Further, we have Easter at the right time on the calendar. Some may complain about the moveable date, but the Passover date was also moveable on the Jewish calendar since a 13th intercalary month was inserted periodically to keep the calendar accurate.
My religious heritage has not known what to do with Easter. We celebrate–but barely. Some are obviously uncomfortable with anything special. I regret that. I also realize that God did not intend notice of the resurrection to be only an annual event. I applaud the fact that people think about Jesus and the resurrection on Easter, I realize also such should be more than a once-a-year event. The practice within my religious heritage is to observe the Lord’s Supper every Sunday, recognizing that every Sunday is resurrection Sunday. I like the description I first heard from Marvin Phillips: “Welcome to the church that celebrates Easter 52 times a year!” But my question lingers: are we in danger of suffocating Easter?

Easter is changing in our world. I have noticed the change; if you have lived very long on this planet, perhaps you have also. When I was growing up in Kansas, the week preceding Easter was a somber occasion. There were special actvities at the churches–and at the school house! All of the businesses in our little town closed on Good Friday from 3-4 P.M. School was usually dismissed for the day, or if we had snow days to make up, no later than noon. Easter was Easter–even for those who did not celebrate Easter.
Today, Easter has become another holiday weekend in a long march of holiday weekends. A holiday week during Semana Santa turns into family vacation, time away from the city, time at the beach. Easter week or weekend involves long drives to see family or to work in a short vacation. The secular has all but replaced the religious.
Except for Easter Sunday tomorrow, Easter week has come and gone for another year. My Facebook friends who have taken time to post have gone on vacation, gone to the beach, traveled to other countries, and apparently had a jolly good time. One more day, and it will be back to work (unless you get Easter Monday off).

My complaint is really a question. What is an appropriate attitude for Christians during this time of year? What are appropriate activities? How do we reflect the central importance of the cross and resurrection? Is this week only one out of 52, nothing changed, nothing different? Or do chills run up and down our spines as we this week consider in a special, unique way that this was the time of year when Jesus changed our world by his sacrifice, death, and resurrection? Almost 2000 years have passed. Have we joined the scoffers wondering, “Where is the sign of his coming?” Or do we remember his resurrection as undoubtable proof that the promise is secure?

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Last updated April 23, 2011