Fifty-Two Easters A Year

Good thoughts below from Jeff S. Smith:

Children who love colored eggs and chocolate bunnies would probably be elated at the prospect of celebrating Easter fifty-two times a year.

No doubt a few adults would find those goodies very tempting as well, but what of the supposed religious reason for the season?   If baskets of bubble gum are always so appealing, why shouldn’t a simple commemoration of the Savior’s death, burial and resurrection provoke similar interest?

Our New Testaments reveal that Jesus foresaw his death and just before his arrest arranged for a last supper with his closest friends, the apostles, including the one who was moments away from betraying him.   Jesus momentously washed their twenty-four dirty feet, symbolizing the value of being a humble servant, before being led away to his bloody coronation.

That last supper consisted of many sumptuous items, but only the unleavened bread and accompanying cup persisted upon the Lord’s table, around which the church gathers.   The apostle Paul wrote,

For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread,  and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “˜This is my body which is for you.   Do this in remembrance of me.’   In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, “˜This cup is the new covenant in my blood.   Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.’   For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes” (1 Corinthians 11:22-26).

The Lord’s Supper, then, not only looks back to the brutal cross and the empty tomb, but also looks forward to his glorious return in the clouds on the day of judgment.   The Supper gives every believer the opportunity to proclaim his belief in those gospel facts, to assert his loyalty to the King of kings, and to state categorically that he is waiting on his return.

Protestants and Catholics understandably delight in the spring Easter ritual; it is filled with ceremony and majesty, whether under the dawn’s early light or before a crowd that has swelled for the occasion.   Worshipers put on their finest suits and best bonnets and the preacher waxes his most eloquent.   For some, the purported reason for the season gets lost with the eggs and is never found, but the majority probably have Christ at least somewhere in mind.

Easter Sunday, then, whether secular, Protestant or Catholic, is a delightful event.

What if Easter could come fifty-two times a year?   What if every Sunday were Easter Sunday?

Chocolate aficionados, rejoice!   Purveyors of sweets and producers of eggs, unite to celebrate!   Me?   Finally, I can get those delicious Reese’s peanut butter cup eggs year-round!

That, however, is not what we are told Easter is all about.   Moreover, the annual Easter observance is not of divine or biblical origin, and for many, it interferes with what should be a weekly commemoration of the events surrounding our Lord’s death and resurrection.

The simple pattern of the infant church was to observe the Lord’s Supper upon the first day of the week and whenever a week began, they could assemble to eat and drink in remembrance of the Lord’s sacrifice (see Acts 20:7).   Nothing exists in Scripture to indicate that this observance was reduced to an annual or quarterly or monthly affair, but that it was as consistent as the Sabbath had been for the Jews under the Law of Moses.

Some object that such frequent observances of the Lord’s Supper would make it so routine that it would be stripped of its meaning.   Perhaps that objection could be sustained if one had suggested having Mothers’ Day every week of the year or scheduling dental exams every Thursday for fifty-two weeks.   Each would not only lose meaning, but the latter would promise pain and expense.   Can the same be said of the regular commemoration of the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ?

Perhaps the fact that we would gladly support fifty-two renewals of chocolate distribution every year but resist just as many Lord’s Supper assemblies is indicative of the problem.   The Lord’s Supper can never lose significance in the heart of one who truly understands the pain and penalty of sin, the anguish of Christ’s sacrificial death, and the majesty and glory of his resurrection from the tomb.   An annual celebration of that graceful act is insufficient—it becomes as memorable as a birthday or anniversary or automobile inspection.   It becomes an event like the Super Bowl.   It is supposed to be more and to mean more because it is everything.

People love Easter and for good reason.   Its secular side is sweet and its religious aspects are thrilling.   The sweet thrill need not dissipate when the final egg is uncovered, nor should it be allowed to lay dormant until spring returns next year.   Without sacrificing the chocolate and jelly beans, the beloved religious customs of the day should be allowed to dissolve into a much more Scriptural, weekly commemoration of the Lord’s death, burial and resurrection.

Most people will find alternative sources of chocolate throughout the year while the Easter Bunny rests up, but far fewer will even seek communion with the Savior at all.   Easter is not enough and a single recognition of what Jesus did for us is similarly insufficient.   We can serve God according to his Word and tell the world that we believe in his Son every Sunday if we would only continue to assemble to partake of his body and his blood.

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