Easter thoughts…

On Sunday, you may have noticed I wished you a Happy Resurrection Day rather than a Happy Easter. It seems that I’m not the only one who prefers to refer to our saviour’s resurrection than a pagan fertility festival. I’d been planning to make exactly the same point as Ted Slater does in his blog post, so it’s an odd bit of synchronicity to see him get in first seemingly independently. Perhaps we both caught the same meme from somewhere recently.

Bev and I had a really nice Easter weekend up in North Wales, staying with my family but also spending the afternoon and evening of Sunday with her family. But it strikes me that our celebration of Easter isn’t as, well, celebratory as it could be. It’s good that it’s not as horrendously commercialised as Christmas, but shouldn’t we be making more of a fuss of the fact that Jesus has rescued us from our sin, defeated death and ascended to the throne of the universe?

I came across an intriguing article by Theo Hobson suggesting an “Easter Rising“:

At present Easter is a non-event. It is the quiet orderly festival of a tradition-minded middle-class and also of a religious subculture – its religious aspect is hardly noticed by the average person. I consider this the most appalling failure of our Christian culture – the fact that nothing really happens on Easter Day. Of course you might go to church if you’re that way inclined, but even then it’s likely to be a non-event. The service probably won’t feel very different from normal. And then it’s a normal Sunday, on which you’ll probably see your family, eat chocolate and watch telly. The evening news will report the messages of the pope and the archbishop of Canterbury – and that’s really the only intrusion of Easter into the public square…

Easter ought to be a massive public event. It ought to be the biggest event in British culture. It ought to be like every carnival and festival and demonstration rolled into one. It ought to be noisy, spectacular. It ought to be something that every young person wants to go to – just as they want to go to the Notting Hill Carnival – to have a look, taste the atmosphere, have a dance, meet up with friends. An excuse for a day out.

Read the whole article to see what he reckons we should do about it.

Shane Claiborne of the Simple Way community writes about Easter on the God’s Politics blog:

In our little circles, we’ve been talking a lot about the need to create new holidays and rituals of remembrance as a Church–this peculiar, set-apart people of God. The early Christians talked a lot about how they no longer celebrated the “festivals of the Caesars” or the holidays of the empire, but had new eyes through which they looked at the world (this is a major theme of our new book Jesus for President). They had a new calendar. They had new heroes and sheroes (not just kings and presidents and fallen warriors). And they had new liturgies and songs. That’s what Holy Week is all about, a new holiday–Easter is our President’s Day. And our Holy Week here in Philly was magnificent, a stunning celebration of the Commander-in-Chief who loved His enemies so much He died for them.

Meanwhile, over at Blog and Mablog, Doug Wilson writes on the public nature of Jesus’ death and resurrection:

The resurrection of the Lord was a public event, just as His death was. This means that the principalities and powers, however much they would like to change the rules of the game now, cannot turn this into a private religion. They executed Him in public, and they posted guards, paid at the taxpayers’ expense. This means that government employees were the first witnesses of the resurrection, and nothing can be done about it now. If they wanted Christians to worship Jesus within the confines of our hearts only, they should have executed Him in the confines of their hearts only.

But they did not, and He died in public. They did not, and so He rose again and appeared publicly to hundreds of people. And consequently, the Lord told us to declare these realities—again publicly—to the entire world. That is what we are engaged in doing, and that is the process that cannot be stopped until the earth is as full of the knowledge of the risen Lord as the waters cover the sea.

So the big question is: how can we faithfully, creatively and publicly celebrate Easter with renewed joy and life and vigour?

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