Wednesday, April 12, 2017

The Church's Real Easter Problem


It's almost Easter, and that means bunnies, baskets, and colorful eggs. While I find these things somewhat annoying, they are generally not dangerous to the church. Some Christians believe these secular symbols confuse the actual meaning of Easter. I don't believe that. I've never met a Christian adult who struggled to differentiate between bunnies and eggs of the one hand and Jesus, the cross, and the empty tomb on the other.

The church has an Easter problem, but it had nothing to do with PAAS or anything else like that.

The church's big Easter-related problem is the focus upon "Holy Week," with particular attention on Easter Sunday. While there's nothing wrong with the week and day per se, what it does is take the church's attention off the other 51 weeks of the year. This week will be full of special services (ceremonies) focused completely upon the death and resurrection of our Lord. However, not long after Easter Sunday, the church will gradually look elsewhere. While Christ's death and resurrection will not be ignored, they also won't be the focal point.

As followers of Jesus, we have the privilege and pleasure of celebrating his death and resurrection 24/7/365. When we gather to celebrate the Lord's Supper (a real meal by the way), it should always be in memory of what Christ has accomplished through his death and resurrection. That's what the early church did.

The institutional church loves high, holy days. It allows for more special ceremonies in special buildings led by special people. However, the early church saw no need for any of that. Instead, the first century Christians got together regularly to talk, eat, sing, and generally share life. The celebration of Jesus was never relegated to specific occasions, locations, or people. Rather, everybody celebrated Jesus' death and resurrection all the time.

A lot of good things are going to happen this week. I love all the discussion of what Jesus did and what it means for us. The trouble begins next Monday. Let's do all we can to keep the focus upon our Lord's death and resurrection. What could be more important than that?

4 comments:

Peter Horvatin said...

Eric,

Isn't it so true that after all the dog and pony shows are over, then so often, the world and a majority of today's Christians go back to business as usual and lose their focus on the meaning of the Lord's death and resurrection. Quite the shame!
Pete

Aussie John said...

Eric,

"The institutional church loves high, holy days." Reminds me of the "Christmas Christians" and "Easter Christians" who never darken the door of the building at other times (except,maybe,a funeral).

Eric said...

Peter,

Exactly! Much of the year the church seems preoccupied with lesser things. I suppose this should be a warning to us as well. Let's keep our focus on what is of most importance.

Eric said...

John,

How true. It is a statement of the church's ineffectiveness that people feel comfortable going to church twice per year. What a ridiculous tradition!