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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

Clayton Cosby 2 years, 7 months 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?

IloveJesus 2 years, 7 months ago

Hello?????????/ u have such a dumb answer ! i guess u dont know how to read beacause in the Bible you can clearly read about the resurrection of our Christ . bunnies and eggs are just some dumb stuff that take the place of Jesus . I guess you dont even care about what Jesus did for you on the cross . And bunnies dont even lay eggs such dumb people!!!!!

Kirk Larson 2 years, 7 months ago

First point: if you use u instead of you and don't know how to use an apostrophe, you can't call others dumb. Second point: Easter is named after Eostre, a pagan goddess of dawn, growth, and fertility who was celebrated in the Spring. Eggs and bunnies are obvious symbols of her. The hormone estrogen is named for her. The early church co-opted her celebrations to push their own agenda. Think about how the date is set; Easter is the first Sunday after the first full moon after the first day of Spring. Does it get any more pagan that that?

pagan_idolator 2 years, 7 months ago

+1. Although I guess the resurrection of Christ is a birth of sorts. IloveJesus - glad you love Jesus but please take into consideration that not all folk are Christian.

IloveJesus 2 years, 7 months ago

. i know there is gonna be some random reply following me about how Christians believe in it ,but I AM A CHRISTIAN AND I don't believe in men i believe in God and His word. That is because i have faith. In the Bible it says the day comes soon when Jesus is gonna come back and everybody that did not believe in Him will want to then but they will have to pay with their own lives and those who did believe in Him will be in Heaven. And to those who will reply mean stuff back well... will just have to see about themselves and how they are gonna react when Jesus comes. Because every eye will see Him. there will be antichrists that will act like God but will just lie to people and that antichrist is Satan. Right now Satan is trying to persuade people to put bad stuff about Jesus. And Satan is the one trying to convince people that there is another meaning about Easter,Christmas,etc.

asixbury 2 years, 7 months ago

Easter lands on a pagan holiday by no coincidence. Christmas was also chosen to be on a date of another pagan holiday. The Catholic Church wanted the pagans to come to their services instead of celebrating like they had done for thousands of years before. Those pagan holidays are the original meaning of the Easter and Christmas dates until the Christians took over. So....your point is?

Also, 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. 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.

asixbury 2 years, 7 months ago

Love your abstract reference to the statues on Easter Island. I wonder how many people caught that...

pagan_idolator 2 years, 7 months ago

In reading all the Christian bashing on my facebook page I realize that while Pagans preach coexistence not all of them practice it.

tomatogrower 2 years, 7 months 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.

Fossick 2 years, 7 months ago

"Where did the whole idea of celebrating Easter on the first Sunday after the first full moon after the Spring Equinox come from?"

Easter is based on the Jewish passover, more of less. Since the Jewish calendar is a lunar one, the date of Passover moves vis-a-vis our solar calendar.

Fossick 2 years, 7 months ago

"Someone who believes in the Bible literally, should not be celebrating at these times."

Why not? The Bible does not say what day Jesus was born, therefore Dec 25 is as good as any other day. It's possible that date was chosen so the pagans could keep their holidays, but it's more likely it was chosen so the Christians' celebration would not stand out in the majority pagan culture. The date doesn't matter a whit.

tolawdjk 2 years, 7 months 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.

yourworstnightmare 2 years, 7 months ago

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

Fossick 2 years, 7 months ago

Not so much. According to the Bede and the Etymological dictionary, the word (which is Old Saxon), comes from "Austron, a goddess of fertility and sunrise whose feast was celebrated at the spring equinox." The name Easter is relates to the Saxon word for East, not the Sumerian Ishtar.

Grammaton 2 years, 7 months ago

Correct. Eostre is another commong spelling variation I came across while researching this weekend.

yourworstnightmare 2 years, 7 months ago

Not to put too fine a point on it, but Austron, Eostre, Ostara, and other similar western European pagan gods had their roots in the Sumerian Ishtar.

As we know, religions spread and change as they spread.

ebyrdstarr 2 years, 7 months ago

Ishtar is Assyrian.

Inanna is the name of the Sumerian version. But, yes, pretty much every ancient culture had a version of this spring, fertility goddess.

Kirk Larson 2 years, 7 months ago

This is why that section in the back of some big dictionaries on Indo-European roots of words is actually quite fascinating! In it you can see how lots of words from the Atlantic all through Europe and into Western Asia are related. In the end we are all one common people!

pagan_idolator 2 years, 7 months 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.

Fossick 2 years, 7 months ago

Yo Gandalf, I'm really happy for you and I'll let you finish, but Night of the Lepus was the greatest Easter movie of all time.

Of all time.

Armored_One 2 years, 7 months ago

Night of the Lepus is just an awesome movie, regardless of time of year it is... LOL

verity 2 years, 7 months 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.

asixbury 2 years, 7 months 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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