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Easter Thoughts

I had the opportunity to do the Easter “program” (if you want to call it that) twice this year: once in a slightly-odd (celebrating Easter on Saturday?) Saturday night service at Imago; the other on Sunday morning at Noelridge. It was a nice change to not have to plan the service this year; I really enjoy just being the pianist and playing behind someone else. Of course, not planning the service means that you get whatever the leader plans. My only real comment in that regard: I am not a fan of Gaither tour DVDs. In fact, I think pretty much any sort of live person-led activity, even of lower technical quality, is preferable to playing a DVD of a song. Your mileage may vary.

My larger observation, though, is that I think we at Noelridge, and likely the greater evangelical church, miss something by not observing all of Holy Week. Maundy Thursday? What’s that? Good Friday? Well, there’s a community Good Friday service that we could’ve attended, I guess. But it’s not really pushed as a priority. We just have an Easter morning service.

What happens, then, is that the Easter morning service turns into an observance of all of Holy Week, and, in our case, turned into 80% (or more) reflections on Christ’s death and the cross, and only about 20% (or less) about His resurrection. And the natural result of that is that the message (sandwiched in after all the special music at the end of the service) ends up being a call to unbelievers to believe, with nothing really targeted at believers, other than a reminder of the hope that we have that death is not the end.

Now the influence of N. T. Wright’s recent Surprised By Hope on my thinking is going to show. Wright argues strongly that we don’t celebrate the Resurrection enough, and I think he’s right. He says, and I loosely paraphrase since I don’t have the book with me at the moment, that we spend 40 days in sacrifice for Lent (oh, something else we don’t do as Baptists) but then Easter is maybe 2 hours on Sunday morning. Instead, Wright says, Easter should be the kickoff day for a full week of celebration. And the message of the Resurrection isn’t just for hope that we will go someplace better when we die, but that God is working to redeem and restore the whole of creation, and that we look forward to participating in Christ’s kingdom.

So much still to think through…

2 Comments

  1. Kari Kari

    If you are following the church calendar, you celebrate Easter for the 50 days until Pentecost (so, another six/seven weeks). I like that about my church, that it’s not like, boom, Easter is here, boom, it’s gone again, but we do the buildup and then still talk about it until Ascension Sunday and then Pentecost. Which we celebrate by decorating the church with red balloons and banners.

    I know I say this on my blog all the time, but it really enhances my understanding of Christianity to go to a church that moves through the calendar year, and your musings kind of exhibit why.

  2. Jason Jason

    Kari’s right about the 50 days of ‘Easter’ leading up to Pentecost.

    Personally, I only made it to an Easter morning service this year because Sandra was in the hospital. And I truly missed making Holy Thursday, Good Friday and the Easter Vigil. They’re all amazing liturgies.

    As for a Saturday night Easter, that doesn’t surprise me because the time of the Resurrection isn’t specified. We know it wasn’t during the Sabbath (Friday sundown through Saturday sundown), so Jesus was raised from the dead sometime Saturday night/Sunday morning. The Liturgical calendar celebrates the beginning of Easter starting Saturday at Sundown.

    –Jason (was in a more important place, but still regrets missing those services)

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