Looking at our world today, does Easter still have the same meaning today as it once did? I remember back to a time when schools dismissed on Good Friday and all normal activities ceased for that one weekend as we focused on Easter. The American observance of Easter may have begun in the church, but it has moved far from its religious beginning.
I remember that Easter was a time when everyone went home for family dinners and to attend church together. We always had ham, chicken and noodles and all the other fixings. At my home church, we’d begin the day at Sonrise service at 6:00 am and end with our worship service that pulled out all the stops with music specials from adults and kids, and of course, a big cantata by the choir and end with the minister’s sermon. It was always a long service, but it was Easter and because it was Easter; the pews would be packed. Easter was the culmination of hours of work and preparation all with the purpose of celebration.
We also marked Easter with new clothes and baskets of candy when we got home from church, followed by the family dinner, which was often at my house. From my perspective back then, Easter was an exciting and anticipated time in our year.
Is Easter still the same today? Well, we still do a lot of the same things at home and at church, but I think that in our culture Easter no longer has importance. Good Friday is not a day off for most. We see many more activities going on in spite of it being Easter weekend. I even saw that one community was having their Easter Egg Hunt on the first weekend of April and not Easter weekend? I know it is often hard to keep up with when Easter is different each year because of its annual shifting of dates, but should it be more than it is becoming?
We are not biblically instructed to celebrate Easter as a church or as a family on any particular day, but we are called to remember Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection through communion as often as we meet. I think that there is something to keeping traditions, but they must be a celebration of the message of Easter – that has never changed and is still the same.
Easter is worthy of our celebration as a church and as a family. We need to make sure that it remains important in our families and as the Body of Christ.