Sunday, March 27, 2016


Easter is the most significant day on the Christian calendar to me. The resurrection is the anchor for my faith. It's only been recently that I've learned that there is freedom to celebrate this, and celebrate it heartily. For many Christians Easter follows a fast that creates an eager longing for the celebration of Easter Sunday, though the celebration usually ends that same day. For some Christians, Easter is the one time of year to go to church, and not much thought is given to Easter before or after the dress-up Sunday.

For other Christians, and this is true of many of those who share my Christian heritage (the churches of Christ), Easter is mostly ignored. There may be a mention of celebrating the resurrection weekly while others do it only annually. If there is no mention of that, it will likely be ignored, even though the crowd is larger, the ladies and girls are wearing bright new spring dresses, the men are wearing pastels, hams are in the oven at home, baskets are filled with candy, and an Easter egg hunt is planned for the afternoon. To these Christians, the holiday is only secular and there is no special celebration of the resurrection on this Sunday.

One of my favorite stories in the Old Testament is the story of Hezekiah restoring the Passover in Judah as told in 2 Chronicles 30:1-23. It had been years even centuries since Jerusalem had celebrated the Passover. Hezekiah invited those left by Assyria in Israel to come join the festivities. The king, the Levites, and the people were bursting with excitement. The people were so excited that many, especially the guests from Israel, observed the Passover while unclean because they couldn't wait until they had time to become clean. Hezekiah prayed and God healed them. The festivities lasted a full week, as prescribed in the law, but that wasn't enough for them. They wanted more celebration! So they agreed to continue another seven days of celebration of the Passover. God's law has been discovered! The land is rid of idols! Many from Israel have come to Jerusalem for the first time for this important celebration! This is Judah's first Passover in ages! With excitement and agreement, they continued celebrating another full week.

What a beautiful picture of restoration of joy in the Lord!

I believe the church at large, and especially those in my religious camp, need this type of celebration of Easter. We have ignored Easter long enough. We need a Hezekiah-like searching for those outside who give scant thought to the resurrection. We need a long, joyous, and creative celebration of music and art and clapping and shouting for joy and anything new and beautiful. While we have those in our presence who may never attend church any other time, why not blow them away with our excitement for Jesus and his resurrection? We need a renewal of our commitment to take up the worthy vocation of serving people. We need to show the world that the resurrection brings life and joy and hope, not just to "a people" but to "ALL PEOPLE".  And filled with love for God and love for his people we bring life and joy and hope to all through our renewed vocation fueled by an exciting and refreshing celebration.

Like Hezekiah, our renewal may only be a one-time thing. It may only last two weeks or six weeks or two months. But it would be better for it to start joyously and fizzle than to never happen at all. But who knows... It may be just the spark needed. It may be just the renewal and energy that begins a sustained new vocation that touches and changes many more lives.

Note: Lest anyone think I'm this clever, this is more or less NT Wright's thoughts applied specifically to the restoration movement.

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