A Pagan Holiday or a Celebration of Life?

by | Mar 21, 2018

I love Resurrection Sunday! To me, it is the single most important day of the year. The first Easter after my baby girl went to be with Jesus, the truth of the resurrection hit me in a fresh way. I had always loved Easter but that day, my heart was nurtured in a way I had never experienced before.

As I sat in church, the quiet and the beauty of the moment surrounded me with comfort. It was as if the Lord was reaching down and holding me close and whispering “Charissa is vibrantly alive and one day you will be reunited with her.”

Since that day, each year as we move towards the commemoration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the grave, my heart is filled with joy. What a beloved Saviour we have!

Paganism and Religiosity

Easter! A much loved word. Easter. A hated word. Easter. A misused word. Many sincere people hate the word, for it is linked to the celebration of Eostre, the goddess of fertility. 

Across the world, Resurrection Sunday is revered as a special day. “In almost every other international language, the holiday is called by some permutation of ‘Pesach,’ the Hebrew word for the Passover holiday/sacrifice.”

Let us rest in the truth God is good. He knows the original Aramaic word for this day was “Pascha”. The truth is, apart from the resurrection, we only have an empty shell of a religion not worth the dye used to color eggs.

Resurrection Sunday is not about paganism. It is about celebrating the victory of Christ over death.

The Resurrection

The resurrection is foundational to salvation. It speaks of Life. It is a picture of Love without limits. It shouts of Hope. It thrills us with new beginnings. Resurrection! Such a beautiful word.

That day means there is life beyond death. One day, Charissa’s eyes will light with joy as she again gazes into my eyes. I will embrace Caspian, my precious grandson, for the first time and see his wonderful smile and hear his voice. Ahh! Such delight.

The resurrection sings beautiful melodies to our heart of life beyond death. Of the hope our emptiness will be filled. Of you and I, the sinner, experiencing genuine forgiveness. Of the victimized being honored, healed, and covered with dignity.

A Man Among Men

LIFE! Hope. Justice. Reunion. Love. JESUS!

Most of all, “Easter” speaks to me of the empty tomb. Jesus, my Beloved, died a cruel death at the hands of predators, jealous of His goodness. Jesus was a man among men. He spoke with authority arising from inner purity and integrity. At His touch, the blind received sight. The deaf heard. The lame walked.

Jesus. The friend of prostitutes and sinners. Those marginalized by society loved Him. Why? Because He saw them. He knew each had a story and He valued their story, for He valued them as individuals of great worth.

Jesus did not look through the lens of societal mores. He looked through the lens of love. He saw the child shamed for no fault of his own. He saw the girl trafficked for her father’s pleasure. He saw children and women raped by “respectable” religious leaders.

Jesus saw the downtrodden, the abused, the victims, the infirm and mentally challenged – and He loved them! He saw past anorexia and cutting and alcoholism to the broken crushed heart. He cared.

Jesus. The most loved and revered man who ever lived

Jesus. The most hated and despised man who ever lived.

Jesus. The most cursed and unjustly blamed of any man who has lived.

Jesus. Loved by victims, who He touched in purity and blessing.

Jesus. Hated by predators as He stood in their way and challenged them for their abusiveness.

Jesus Is a Safe Place

I love Jesus more than words can explain. You may have experienced abuse that degrades and defiles, but when He looks at you, you are seen. You are valued. You are no longer an object  to be oppressed, used, then smashed to the ground.

You are Someone! You are special! You are a person, not an object.

His gaze is warm and comforting. Hope bubbles up inside for you sense His gaze covers you with dignity.

If you have ever been victimized, abused, used, a plaything, or tossed aside as a bit of rubbish, you will know what I mean. His eyes don’t look past you as if you are invisible. His eyes don’t assess you with the desire to violate you. His eyes don’t see through you, cutting you to ribbons, then dismissing you as insignificant flotsam.

His eyes stop. Light up with a holy love. Arrested by something deep inside you. And as He looks into your eyes, His Spirit communes with your spirit. You are embraced. In that moment, you know you are important. Jesus recognizes your life has meaning. You matter to Him! His love is so deep that regardless of what you have done, He sees you as beautiful and worthy of His grace.

 

Meaning Comes Through Relationship

Resurrection Sunday. Pesach. That day is intertwined with my Beloved Jesus. He knew my need. Loving me, He went to Calvary. Jesus died in my place so I might be forgiven. He took all my sin, my shame, and my deep pain upon Himself. And Jesus, who was without sin, became sin for me that I might be made righteous and the curses on my life might be broken. Jesus died so you and I might become the child of the Heavenly Father.

Oh how I love my Beloved Jesus. The focus of the resurrection is not pagan rituals or our religious rejection of what is pagan. If we are honest, Easter is all about pagans like you and me being born again by the power of God. Resurrection Sunday is about the Lamb of God, who died a cruel death in our place, who went down into Hell, and then arose the third day to set us free from the law of sin and death.

A New Hope

My dear friend. Jesus died so you might live. It doesn’t matter what your past is. It doesn’t matter what label has been attached to you. When Jesus looks at you, He sees a dearly beloved individual created in His image. He sees your broken heart. He sees your wounded spirit – trampled on by predators who violated you. He sees. AND HE CARES!

Apart from the Resurrection, there is no hope. He beckons you, Come unto Me and I will give you rest. I will heal you, cleanse you, cover your nakedness, and fill you with abundant, joyful life.

Jesus! He is my Hope. He is the Song in my heart. He is the Singer who sang songs of joy over me as I wept in the night. He is Life, drawing me to the empty tomb where I bowed in worship and was born anew. And He wants to do the same for you.

As we approach what many call Pesach, others call Resurrection Sunday, some call Easter, and others call Pascha, let us lay aside the trivial to embrace and celebrate the wonderful truth Jesus the Son of the Most High God died at Calvary and three days later arose from the grave. Today, Jesus is seated at the right hand of the Father.

But His work is not finished – Jesus beckons you to come. To open the Door of your heart and allow Him entrance so He may come in and sup with you as your Redeemer and Friend.

We are the Body of Christ. Rather than divide over this glorious day, let us unite at the foot of the Cross in humility and wonder that Jesus demonstrates such unconditional love for each of us and offers us hope beyond the grave.

May your heart be filled with His Life!

Barbara

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