Easter, Sort Of

10

26 March 2013 by thaliakr

Crucifixion, 1868, Gabriel Wueger

Crucifixion, 1868, Gabriel Wueger

You’d think the task of ‘explaining Easter’ would not be a tough one for a minister. Hm.

I have the privilege of writing occasionally for the parents’ resource website Kiwi Families. Mostly it’s great fun, but sometimes it’s flippin’ hard work, like the other week, when the editor, Rochelle, asked if I could write something about the meaning of Easter.

I’d managed to avoid doing so last year, excusing myself with a new baby and postnatal depression, but I thought I’d really better give it a crack this year. I’m pleased I did, but it wasn’t easy.

There’s so much to say, and so much not to say. Of course, of course, Easter is the absolute pinnacle of the church calendar, where we remember and even re-enact the core events of the Christian faith. These are the days we believe changed the composition of the universe. Are you feeling the pressure yet?

But Easter has been encumbered, over the centuries, with so much frippery – both traditional and theological – that I just want to dunk the whole week in a bucket of soapy water to clean off the accumulated layers of muck and facepaint. If we scrub away the bunnies and smooth the harsh patina of penal substitution so other colours and ideas are visible, what does Easter look like, coming out of the wash?

Here’s what I came up with for Kiwi Families. There’s more and less to say, but it’s a start. I’d love your thoughts.

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10 thoughts on “Easter, Sort Of

  1. Michelle Christoffersen says:

    Fabulous as always Thalia!! Thanks so much for writing up Easter :)

  2. Cathy Gordon says:

    I am hosting an Ecumenical Service on the polytech campus I work in and have experienced exactly what you are talking about. What needs to be told?, what can be left out?, how can you explain deep spiritual truths in a secular context that is accessible and right for believers and not yet believers alike? It is truly one of the hardest tasks I have faced as a Chaplain.

    Thanks to your blog and the Kiwi Families post I have decided to use Joy Cowley’s Easter Story as my “sermon”. It is the best resource I have found that fits the context and the occasion. Thanks so much for your recommendation, it was perfect timing.

  3. kindikat says:

    I have been thinking about this so much since I read it. I am writing a blog about this right now. Its a complicated topic. Playmobil came out with an easter style advent calender this year, which is ridiculous. But most of all I have been pondering the whole death and children topic. I will be posting my thoughts later today, I hope you get a chance to check it out.

    • Thanks, Kat, I’ll definitely look forward to your post – feel free to put the link in a comment for everyone else, too, if you like.

      I don’t know if you saw my review of Joy Cowley’s Easter book, but I was really struck by how sensitive to little kids she was when dealing with the death of Jesus: http://www.kiwifamilies.co.nz/2013/03/the-easter-story/

      • kindikat says:

        Here is the link… A friend told me her friend’s 4 year old daughter came home from her Catholic-run kindergarten last week with the full story of Easter. I found that really shocking and it started me thinking about how parents deal with that and how many probably simply trust that organized religion know what and when to say to their little ones. That, in combination with reading your post here a few days ago, and my thought on my own experiences with it all as a child, led to me writing this piece. I hope it comes across ok, I am acutely aware that writing as a non-Christian on this topic I can really easy tread on the wrong toes, and that’s absolutely not my intention. https://secretkindiblog.wordpress.com/2013/03/29/336/

  4. Andy says:

    only thing i’d add would be that the first generation of christians were documenting the resurrection story openly and writing of it within the lifetime of potential critical witnesses. and the number and tightness of agreement of the early documents make it historically credible.

    • Hi Andy,

      I agree with you that the historical data are compelling. I didn’t make that point in the KF piece because it was very definitely not an apologetics article but aiming to a) inform non-churchy people who are interested in some detail and b) encourage churchy people to engage more deeply with Easter with their families.

      But I agree with your point – there really are a lot of reasons why the early documents are historically credible. If people are interested in the issue, Wikipedia has an article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historical_reliability_of_the_Gospels

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