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Quaker by conviction, mother by default, Celticst through love, Christ follower because I once was lost but now am found...

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Not Easter

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good. His love endures forever Psalm 136

What do you do when you think the church has screwed up really badly & has ended up celebrating a Pagan festival in the name of Christ?  How do you negotiate the waters for which you have no language?  No precedent?  Where are the signposts & guidelines? Just what do you do about the whole schmozzly mess?

These are questions we have been wrestling with in our little island getaway for several years ~ more if you count the years we have argued over how to celebrate Christmas & what to do about the GPs, who still give our kids Easter eggs. 

Once you step away from what everyone else is doing you suddenly find yourself in treacherous waters with hidden currents & unexpected snags.  It sounds simple.  If you don't want to celebrate, don't.  Only there's the GPs, & the one who really likes milk chocolate & the fact all the churches are busy geeing everyone up for Good Friday & Resurrection Sunday ~ seriously?  Can they not count? 

And I hate, loath, abhor the whole money thing & the parents screaming in the shops about the cost to give their kids Easter eggs & no idea about any of it: not Christ, not Eostre, not the cross & not the bunnies.  It makes me ill.  It makes me cross.

So last year we did a Seder & celebrated Passover & that was interesting but I think I did it badly & I wasn't real keen about doing it again this year.  With the girls away I was seriously going to ignore the whole thing.  Our friends are usually away for Easter ~ only this year they weren't & they wanted to know what we were going to do.

Now I will share a little something, mostly because it amuses me & I'm sure it amuses God.  For the better part of a month the Lord has been landing me in Psalm 136 & for the life of me I couldn't work out why.  Nothing lept out at me.  I didn't feel the prompting of the Holy Spirit to pay attention to anything in particular.  I have been stewing & frustrated & then last night, as I was putting together an abbreviated Seder to share with our friends I finally got it!  The final psalm in my Seder booklet is ~ yep! Psalm 136!

So why should this amuse me so much?  Well, I came to the conclusion after my reading, after tons of research, after the Holy Spirit leaning on me hard & putting a fire in my bones that the only Festivals the church should be celebrating are the one's God ordained.  After all He says they will still be celebrated in the kingdom to come.  Christmas won't;  Easter won't, but the Passover will be: the Feast of Tabernacles, the Days of unleavened Bread, Shavout, Yom Kippur & Rosh HaShanah will still be celebrated & in all seriousness shouldn't we be getting used to this?  Anyway, there it was.  God was reminding me I got it right last year & we were to remember the Passover, not because it is Passover but because in symbol & ritual it forshadows Christ's sacrifice.  It is such a joy to recognize the signposts that lead like a flighted arrow straight to the Cross!

And you know, having decided to do a shortened Seder so we could talk more about the symbols & how this was the meal Christ celebrated with His disciples the night he was betrayed I trotted off to the shops to buy my bitter herbs & my parsley ~ to find the floods had squished that! True.  Tabouli, parsley, bitter herbs were not to be had & our own garden is sadly bereft.  In desperation I bought parsley from the nursery.

This morning, unusually for me, flowed really peacefully.  There was such a sense of serenity & holiness as I set the tall white candles in their holders, salted the water,  placed my egg & lamb's bone on the white plate with the bitter herbs & the parsley.  Every act had a sense of sanctity to it ~ & I kept it simple.  We set out our morning tea as usual with the Seder things.  Dearest read about Christ sweating drops of blood as He prayed for this cup to pass from him & then we lit the candles & walked through the Seder ~ & it was lovely.  Our friends really enjoyed it.  It was peaceful & it was sacred & it was a holy thing we did.

Knowledge is a funny thing.  Once you have it you can't ever unhave it.  And knowing that Eostre is the same as Asarte who is the whore of Babylon whose animal was the hare & whose symbol of fertility was the egg what I thought ~ & what I think ~ is that the church has played the whore.  A little compromise has leavened the whole loaf. And look, it's so easy. 

 Hunting for eggs is fun.  Dying eggs is fun.  Chocolate is always good! Where's the harm?  Only all these things began life as pagan religious rituals & if we actually understood our bibles we wouldn't do it.  Leviticus ~ that long tedious book that lists all the things you can or cannot eat or wear & how long after birth a woman must wait before she can go to the temple ~ except its not about things.  It never was.  It is about a principle; the principle of holy verses unholy, clean as opposed to unclean & the principle is simple.  The unclean thing defiles.  What is unclean can not be made holy & this is the principle Easter violates.  The pagan is not made holy by Christianizing it.  Rather it defiles the whole.

So them's my thinks about Easter & why we didn't celebrate it this year ~ & why we won't next year either.  I don't know how we will celebrate but I figure as the Holy Spirit leads us further into All Truth we will be shown God's desire in the matter & He will give us the guidelines & the signposts & we will find the language to describe the path we are called to walk.

So whatever you call it & however you celebrated, may the blessing of the Lord Jesus Christ rest upon you & grant you peace.


Ruby said...

No buns, eggs, bunnies or crosses here but we do celebrate the Resurrection....every Lords Day. Rejoice, He is risen!

P.S. Grandparents do get used to and accept the non celebration of these festivals when you approach them in a calm and firm manner. We seek to honour them without going along with all their beliefs. We do however, accept a gift or a chocolate as long as they accept that we do not celebrate the "holy days".

MamaOlive said...

hi there. Google lost my long, smart comment. now it's too late for me to re-think the whole thing. Anyway, glad to see you again.

seekingmyLord said...

Grandparents are the only reason I went along with whole Santa Claus thing. The Princess, though, determined that Jesus, not a rabbit, brings the candy for Resurrection Day...and yes, this is one of those horrendous compromises I so dislike but at least my church has not had any egg hunts the last two years.

You know what really bothered me even more? All the ads I saw for Easter, not just treats and little egg stuffers but games and toys that rival the Christmas season. I suppose people think it is better to give a toy than candy but...what happened to the Passover and Resurrection? I wonder sometimes if Passover was as commercialized when Jesus was bending low to wash the dust feet of his own disciplines. I believe it was because the core of the problem within mankind is pretty much the same as it has been since the fall in Eden.

I probably should blog this instead of going on here, eh?

Unknown said...

My Daddy buys the kids Easter baskets, every. year. At least he makes an effort to make them beneficial though, since he knows we homeschool he gives the kids lots of book at Christmas and Easter. So this year they got a couple of really great books, a stuffed animal, a few bits of candy, and Hubby and I got them new Bibles :)

I guess it's my Daddy's right to spoil his grandchildren, and rather than cause my Dad more reasons to hate church, I'll just keep my mouth shut and leave it be.

Finding Joy said...

Growing up we never celebrated Easter for all the reasons you gave, but so we weren't "left out" my aunt use to buy us one chocolate egg each, I do the same for my sons. I was brought up to not celebrate any of these events, however each Sunday to celebrate the wonderful word of our Lord.He didn't need parties, or presents bought or anything else only trusting and living by His Word.