Good Friday is already upon us. Spring has arrived, finally! Aren’t we always ready to greet spring? Especially in these crazy times. Below is a blend of an older post from a couple of years back, with a touch of fresh thought to make it current! Enjoy! And remember…. every day is a great day to celebrate our Lord’s victory at the cross and His resurrection. He lives!
The day is lovely. There is a gentle breeze coming off the Mediterranean. People have had to celebrate Semana Santa, Holy Week, in their own households, with a gathering of no more than six. No big crowds are coming into town as in the hundreds of years past. No parades move through the town during this week. And no one will be celebrating until the early hours of the 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 had little to do with Christ in the past. Eggs have long been the symbol of Easter in pagan circles and 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.
For Christian, up until 2020 Easter was a popular time for masses of people who didn’t go to church all year-long to attend. This used be lucrative for some churches, too. And people, in general, liked to keep to this tradition.
But all this has changed. I don’t think the damage done will be recovered. This is because I think gatherings have changed and people have decided to stay home and worship online, or not at all. The church now can be compared to a tree. There are new buds, and the dead leaves have fallen off. I think gathering will happen in clusters and house churches will grow in popularity.
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? Some say there are actually records of the early church gathering to celebrate, which brought conflict because some regions celebrated in line with Passover, others didn’t want to do this and made sure the two celebrations never occurred on the same day. And some wanted to make sure the celebration was held every year on the first Sunday after the full moon following the spring equinox.
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 let’s sing and lift our hands high! He has risen. He has risen, indeed! And neither height nor depth can keep you from the love of God. Not even coronaviruses!
Written by Jori Sams