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Archive for Sunday, April 8, 2012

Faith Forum: Do the Easter Bunny and Easter egg hunts take away from the message of Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection?

April 8, 2012

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The Rev. Tom Brady, senior pastor, First United Methodist Church, 946 Vt.:

All the secular attention given to Easter has the potential to make it an even greater holiday and religious celebration. The cultural hype and highly marketed products like bunnies, eggs, candies and Easter baskets can add to the attention the church tries to give to Easter.

I think the cultural and religious emphasis on Easter can work hand-in-hand. It is truly a special time of year and a very special day. Spring is in the air and signs of new life are all around us. Cards and gifts are sometimes exchanged and the stores are filled with symbols of Easter. An empty plastic egg is the perfect symbol for an empty tomb. An egg of any sort can be an object to teach about new life and how Jesus Christ was raised from death to life.

If the emphasis is only on jelly beans and chocolate, a great teaching opportunity is lost. This is the balance that every parent must determine. Much like Christmas, the opportunity to teach about Jesus is there. In my opinion, the two greatest Christian holidays are Christmas and Easter. They can be about Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny, or they can be about the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

If you are a parent who does not know the story of Jesus and do not know much about the significance of the resurrection of Jesus, I would encourage you to take your family to a worship service on Easter morning. Balance out the bunnies and Easter egg hunts with an hour of worship and introduce your children to the true meaning of Easter. Make it a wonderful day of celebration.

Easter is about new life and new beginnings. The good news is that Christ was raised from death to life. Celebrate this good news on Easter morning!

— Send email to Tom Brady at tom@fumclawrence.org.

The Rev. Shannah M. McAleer, senior minister, Unity Church of Lawrence, 900 Madeline Lane:

We are a country of both secular and spiritual practices.

We may celebrate Easter with bunnies, egg hunts, and all sorts of fun spring festivities, and yet the power of the Christian teachings on the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus remain intact over time and geography.

Few people may actually even know that the Easter practices around eggs and bunnies and such came from earth-based pagan practices originally, so they no longer carry much “weight” as spiritual practices, if any.

The crucifixion and resurrection do represent very personal possibilities as examples from the life of Jesus. Imagine that we move through difficult times in our lives and joyously proclaim the beauty, power and mystery of the times in our own lives that we might express as resurrection moments — times we transcend the physical realities of the world and move higher into the spiritual realm.

We give thanks for the way-shower Jesus who demonstrated through his own horrific and then transcendent experiences, how we may grow as people of a Christian faith. May you experience all the joy that is Easter.

— Send email to Shannah McAleer at rev.shannah@unityoflawrence.org

Comments

asixbury 2 years ago

To all the fundamentalist Christians that try to use God's supposed return as a threat:

Threatening non-Christians with the return of Jesus is an empty and pointless threat. If there is a god, to be perfect like the Christians say, she could not be capable of killing. Killing someone because they didn't do what the god wanted them to is a selfish, immature, and jealous act. It is a very human act; not godlike at all (if god is perfect). You can't say Jesus loves us and at the same time will kill us if we don't believe. That is called an oxymoron.

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DannyHaszard 2 years ago

Besides not celebrating Easter Jehovahs Witnesses don't celebrate their birthdays,Christmas,Mother's Day and so on. JW believe that Jesus had his second coming invisibly in the month of October 1914. -- Danny Haszard FMI http://www.dannyhaszard.com

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verity 2 years ago

My mother told me that Easter is the first Sunday after the first full moon after the beginning of spring so that there could never be a solar eclipse on Good Friday---so that it couldn't be said that it was a solar eclipse that caused the sun to go dark.

That's what she told me.

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Gandalf 2 years ago

Anyone ever watch The Man from Earth? Great movie!!

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pagan_idolator 2 years ago

Our holiday Ostara is actually celebrated at Spring Equinox and is usually before Easter. We will typically dye eggs as well. That being said, I am still eating chocolate, ham and eggs on Easter. I do not observe it as the resurrection of Christ but it sure doesn't bother me if others do. Not for me to decide how you celebrate the Divine. Except the Flying Spaghetti Monster - you should always partake of the Sacred Garlic Bread two hours after sunset on the 12 Sunday after April Fools Day. Or just don't do it at all.

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yourworstnightmare 2 years ago

The word "Easter" comes from the Sumerian goddess Ishtar, and her festival of fertility and war was celebrated in the early spring.

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yourworstnightmare 2 years ago

Yes, because both are fairy tales.

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tolawdjk 2 years ago

"Few people may actually even know that the Easter practices around eggs and bunnies and such came from earth-based pagan practices originally, so they no longer carry much “weight” as spiritual practices, if any. "

Translation: Since the basis of the holiday centers around "not my religion" it does not carry any weight spiritually and is therefore not a threat to "my religion." Enjoy your quaint little candies at will.

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ShePrecedes 2 years ago

I am just not certain anymore that Jesus did die on the cross. I am just not certain anymore that the Jesus myth reflects the lives of three different wise men teaching at the same time.]

Tony Bushby's book certainly makes the case for review of events back then. And we all know that rulers, including churches, LIE to get what they want from us, to get us to believe what they want us to believe.

Men LIE!

I do not trust a group of murderous men at the Nicean Council some 1600 years ago to make decisions for me about what I can and cannot know, what I can and cannot read. The Nicean Council was all monkey business as far as I am concerned.

I will never get used to being lied to.

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tomatogrower 2 years ago

It does worry me that Christians who consider themselves fundamentalists, believing everything in the Bible is true, really believe that Jesus was crucified and rose from the dead at different times every year. Where did the whole idea of celebrating Easter on the first Sunday after the first full moon after the Spring Equinox come from? Well, it probably came from wanting Pagans to accept Christianity, by not forcing them to give up their regular holidays. Look at Christmas. Scholars agree that Jesus' real birthday was not in our month of December, but those Pagans were celebrating the birth of the sun (Winter Solstice), so why not throw in the birth of the son. Someone who believes in the Bible literally, should not be celebrating at these times. And they certainly shouldn't be offended that their celebration coincides with Pagan celebrations. The Pagans were there first.

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Paul R Getto 2 years ago

We shouldn't make fun of the Christians as they sincerely believe all this happened. Like most major holidays on their calendar, they layered it on top of existing holidays. Clearly the origins of the larger Easter celebrations are pagan and earth-bound. Nothing wrong with that. Ya gotta have a holiday sometime; might as well use one people are already used to and try to change their minds about its ancient origins.

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FalseHopeNoChange 2 years ago

I thought it was a "special" day to celebrate the Moai and the "Bunny" was a replacement for Moai to not scare the children?

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RogersState80 2 years ago

Chirst? This isnt Christmas you know...Easter is about the Easter Bunny. Why else do you think they call this easter. Its named after the EASTER bunny. Duh! What does Christ have to do with it?

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