A Few Easter Thoughts
When the first Easter occurred, Christians were scorned, vilified, even killed for their beliefs. Two thousand years later, that’s still true. Here, secular politicians and media pundits make fun of those who follow a moral path based on scripture. Things are much riskier in many other countries, as recent events in Sri Lanka prove.
Of course, we cannot claim the high ground. Arguably more blood has been spilled over the centuries in the name of the Christian God than for Allah or others. Either way, it remains dangerous to be a person of faith.
The Latin word “Pascua” or its derivation is used by many cultures to denote the Easter season. The word came originally from a Hebrew word meaning “Passover.” This ancient festival harks back to the plagues tormenting Egypt when Moses was tussling with Ramses to free the enslaved Hebrews. On the night the Egyptian firstborn children died, the Jewish homes were passed over by the terror. While modern scholarship shows this to be more myth than history, the Passover celebration remains a powerful and uniting event.
Calendars were different then too. While ancient astronomers knew very early on how long the year lasted, they still broke it up into small sections, usually using the phases of the moon. In fact, the “month” is often said to be derived from the word “moon.” So, rather than saying that the first ever Easter happened on a certain date, it was related as the first Sabbath after the first full moon after the vernal equinox. Since our modern year doesn’t synch exactly with the moon, the date for Easter wanders from one year to the next.
Numerous other festivals occurred during springtime, both religious and pagan. Spring by its very nature is a time of rebirth: the very earth turns green again after the death time of winter. It’s no surprise every culture has a special affinity for this time of year.
Modern traditions like colored eggs and the Easter Rabbit can trace their origins back a few centuries, just as St. Nicholas and Christmas trees have found their way into a different celebration in December.
Regardless of how we celebrate it Easter offers a chance to consider renewal. Whether it’s our personal faith, family relationships, or other more mundane things, the example laid down centuries ago can lead us. Rethink that fight you had with a loved one. Rededicate yourself to your career — or change it. Or sit down somewhere and just have a quiet conversation with the One who started it all.
He did it for you.
A Few Easter Thoughts