Monday, April 1, 2013

Easter names

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Some Greek Orthodox friends of mine had the opportunity to give those of us in the Western churches a hard time over our use of "Easter" to celebrate the day of our Lord's resurrection. For such an important occasion, why do we use the name of a pagan goddess instead of, at least, a translation of Passover which relates to some of the work Christ accomplished by His death and resurrection. How pathetic. When I learned Spanish I had to report to an Orthodox friend who brought up the subject that it's really a fault of our language rather than our church background. Catholics and Protestants in other countries really do use a translation of Passover (Spanish: Pascua) like our Orthodox friends who are transliterating from their Greek liturgy (Pascha).
A couple weeks ago Mr. Nick on We Kids called this celebration "Resurrection Day". Wouldn't it be wonderful to simply change our name across all cultures to Resurrection Day or something similar? We're not celebrating a pagan goddess nor a season known for the baby animals and plants nor even the Jewish Passover. We are celebrating something different, which admittedly can be seen as through a glass darkly in those three events, but encompasses SO.MUCH.MORE. We're celebrating Christ's defeat over all the false gods that seek to destroy our souls. We're celebrating the new life He offers us, which the baby animals and plants remind us of. We're celebrating freedom from the slavery to sin. Yet each of these is just a part, as an elephant's trunk is just a part of the whole animal. We are selling ourselves short if we don't recognize that our name is such a small part of what we are celebrating and the whole is so much greater. We are doing ourselves an even greater disservice if we limit our celebration to bunnies and eggs and tulips, forgetting the far greater reason to celebrate.
We may not be in a position to transform the popular name for this holiday (confusion galore as one group calls it "Easter", another calls it "Pascha" or "Passover", another calls is "Resurrection Day", and another chooses a different name: we won't understand each other any more than the builders of the tower of Babel). But we can remember in our families why we take time each spring to celebrate, what it is that we celebrate, who we celebrate, and allow that remembrance to influence the way we celebrate.

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