Happy Easter!

I pray you and yours are gearing up for a great celebration this Easter Sunday.  I am looking forward to seeing my oldest daughter coming home from college.  I think she is bringing the boyfriend, but sure, why not?  It is always good to have all the family together for any special day.  I think I even have my wife convinced that we do not have to eat ham for Easter.  I do not like ham, Sam I am . . . green or any other color.  Well, anyway, whatever you eat and whoever will be there, I hope you enjoy a wonderful Easter weekend.

I did have a question.  Why do you celebrate Easter?  Is that a dumb question with an obvious answer?  I don’t know.  I mean, Scripture does not command it.  The Old Testament was full of days to be celebrated or observed, but that is not the case in the New.  All of the days observed in the OT were about the ceremonial law and sacrificial system that has all been fulfilled for us in Jesus.  As a part of our walk with God we don’t observe specific days to fulfill the law.  Nowhere does it tell us to observe an Easter, which is a word that comes from a pagan goddess – that is another topic, not going there today.  We are not commanded to celebrate Christmas for that matter.  The only day we observe is the day the body of Christ gathers to worship.  Hebrews tells us not to miss that weekly day, and the NT repeatedly shows all these new believers began gathering on Sunday in celebration of the resurrection.  I guess you could say the early church thought Easter was every Sunday.

At this point you might be wondering where I am going with this.  Am I suggesting we do not observe the annual event we call Easter?  Of course not!  Do you think I am crazy?  Biggest day of the year for church attendance.  Even though the NT does not command it, I do not believe the Lord is against us marking a day we honor His entrance into the world or a day to emphasize His death and resurrection.  There is nothing wrong with a day that makes us slow down, stop and think about these events, and what they mean to our lives.  Nothing wrong with it, if indeed that is what we are doing.

It is interesting that we, the church, have become so ready to fight the world, the government, and retailers if they do not honor and acknowledge these special days in our faith.  I question what it is that we are doing that is so special about how we honor these days.  I wonder if our government and retailers have stopped acknowledging these days because they have seen in us that there really is nothing that special or life-changing about them.  Maybe we need to stop throwing stones at unbelievers for not acting like believers, when we believers are not always doing such a great job at it either.  Does a Christmas tree honor the Lord?  Does our spending more than we have to give people stuff they do not need acknowledge the virgin birth?  How do new dresses, eggs, and chocolate bunnies cause us to mediate on the violent death Jesus endured on the cross so that we would not have to endure a violent eternity separated from God?  Funny thing is, this is not an article against all that.  I will be putting up a tree this Christmas and I am guessing there will be a chocolate bunny somewhere in the house this Sunday.  But really, what does any of this have to do with our faith?  Oh sure, we will also go to church amidst the trees, presents, bunnies and eggs.  But c’mon, doesn’t it almost seem like, “Ugh, how are we going to fit the church service into all this?”  And I am the preacher!

As we move forward in this Easter week, could I encourage you to do what my family is going to do?  Answer two questions:  Why do we celebrate Easter?  I am guessing a lot of us will be able to answer that with great faith and conviction.  Some of us may even make a list and put verses beside it.  But now the next question: How do we celebrate Easter?  How is that we are acknowledging this?  This is where you write down: we go to grandma’s, we eat ham, we hunt for eggs, give chocolate bunnies and new underwear.  I guess there is a third question.  What in the world does how we celebrate Easter have to do with why we celebrate Easter?  Think about it.  Discuss it as a family.  See what you come up with.

I really do pray you have a wonderful Resurrection Day!

Randall T. Hahn

 

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