Happy Easter? (April 2021)

Article by Pastor Rick for April 2021 News for the Flock newsletter

Did You Know…

  • Easter is the first Sunday after the first full moon following the vernal equinox. (I know this, but I always forget and have to look it up every year.)
  • Easter was originally observed on the day following the end of the Passover fast (14 Nisan) regardless of the day of the week on which it fell.
  • The word Easter derives from the Anglo-Saxon goddess of Spring (Eostre or Ostara).
  • While the Christmas season lasts 12 days (Christmas day to Epiphany), the Easter season lasts 50 days (from Easter Sunday to Pentecost). It is a season of great joy that exceeds Lent’s penitential season of 40 days.
  • For a long time, Easter was the day on which the church baptized.

While all of these little tidbits may (or may not) be fascinating, they have little to do with the actual Easter message. The grave cannot contain our God. Death doesn’t get the final word. God raised Jesus from the dead.

When we say “Happy Easter!” we may also be missing an important link to the actual Easter message too. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with saying “Happy Easter,” and I say it dozens of times myself every year. But as I’ve been thinking about the real message of Easter, it seems to me that the bolder greeting of “Christ is risen!/Christ is risen, indeed!” just fits better. I mean, if that’s not at the heart of things then it doesn’t much matter when Easter is celebrated, whose name we borrowed, how long the season is, or what the church used to do on that day.

What happened on that first Easter is the stone was rolled away and the tomb was empty, and then the risen Lord appeared to Mary Magdalene (and some others). That is what matters even if on some days it’s hard to imagine, let alone believe.

God did this thing. Life is stronger than death. Jesus has been raised. So, one day, will we.

Could it be that this most wondrous act might loosen our tongues and overcome our tentative Lutheran piety? Could it be that we will find ourselves saying: “Christ is risen!/Christ is risen indeed!” instead of only “Happy Easter?”

Well, either way, look at what God has done! If Jesus can get up out of the grave, imagine all the other things we can do together along the way.

Christ is risen…