St. Patrick’s day was only last week, and people quickly took off their leprechaun hats and replaced them with Easter bonnets! Good Friday is already upon us. Spring has arrived, finally! Aren’t we always ready to greet spring?
The day is lovely. There is a gentle breeze coming off the Mediterranean. People have been celebrating Semana Santa, Holy Week, all week with the big crowds coming into town. Parades are the main draw throughout Spain during this week and celebrations continue until the early hours of morning.
While I enjoy the festivities, this time of year actually has a dark past. With connections to pagan traditions, Easter, Estre, Ishtar (whichever one you may choose to call it) is certainly religious, but it has little to do with Christ. Marshmallow bunnies may be tasty, but the connection isn’t. They have long been a symbol of Easter because these animals are very fertile and running isn’t the only thing they do quickly! They breed at great speed, too! Bunnies are the symbol of fertility.
Eggs were the symbol of Easter, the fertility goddess, stemming back to the days of Babel. Child sacrifice was heavy during Easter, in order to please the gods. So were orgies and summoning the spirits. People were seeking blessings with prosperity and fertility for the season.
I know that, along with Christmas, Easter is a popular time for masses of people who don’t go to church all year-long to attend. This can be lucrative for some churches, too. And people, in general, like to keep to this tradition.
I am not trying to take away from it.
But this time of year, I cannot help but remember the past and wonder what God must be thinking about our celebrations.
We live in the Age of Grace. God does not interfere with our customs and traditions, with our superstitions. He is a Gentleman, and lets us get on with our activities. I can’t help but wonder, also, what the early church would think of our celebrations. Would they be horrified that the early church fathers have made Christ the center of Easter, trying to blend Christianity with pagan traditions in an effort to keep the masses happy?
In the Old Testament, when God gave the Mosaic Law, He frowned upon such behavior and warned the Israelites against it.
Again, we live in the Age of Grace. God loves people. God loves celebrations. He loves families to bond, to gather. He loves unity.
Don’t misunderstand me! I love celebrations and gatherings, too! And I am in no way objecting to celebrating the Resurrection! That is what Sunday is for. Every Sunday. That is why we break bread, sing praise songs, lift our hands freely in worship! We live lives separated to Him, to give Him glory and honor. He is so worthy!
I want to encourage believers today to think of the Cross, and the great sacrifice of Christ every day, not just one week a year. This is the very reason the early church abandoned the Saturday fellowship for Sunday, because this was the day of the week Jesus resurrected. Let the warmth of spring, the warmth of Resurrection Sunday carry with you every day. It is such a marvelous thing!
And please, please, don’t leave Jesus on the cross! This day was a glorious day, a day of victory. This was the day God had His eye on in the Garden, eagerly waiting for the final sacrificial lamb to solve the problem of sin. Don’t get bogged down with a wimpy, heart-broken looking Jesus hanging on a cross.
Remember Jesus’ words. He came to make all things new. Remember the last thing He said, “It is finished!” Finally! Finally the condition of sin, the law of sin, was once and for all atoned for! Jesus came to die! This is the only reason God came in the flesh, to make atonement and set us free from the bondage of sin.
All through the Old Testament God required atonement. During this whole period, He knew He would provide the way out, and for sin to be dealt with once and for all. The resurrection then sealed the path for us to live wholly well for eternity, not with the condition of sin for eternity! Isn’t that a beautiful thing? If Jesus hadn’t resurrected, we couldn’t have resurrected, either.
So, go on and do it right! That is what Sunday is for! Celebrate!
Written by Jori Sams
Jori Sams is a Christian author and freelance writer with nearly 2000 published pieces on the Internet, with over 1500 being published by Yahoo. Her books are published through Writeious Books. When she isn’t writing, you can usually find her following the sun…