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That Poster Apr-2019 “Take a closer look at Easter”

That Poster (Outreach Media)

If we took a closer look at Easter, what would we find – a chocolate fantasy or important history?

In the 8th Century, the English monk, Bede, spoke of how the name of the pagan goddess ‘Eostre’ was used for the ‘Easter month’. Bede’s words have long been seen as proof that Christians simply replaced existing cultural rituals with their own. But the problem is that there isn’t much hard evidence for the English Goddess ‘Eostre’ or her Spring pagan festival. However, there’s lots of evidence that Christians throughout Europe, from the medieval period onward, used eggs and rabbits as symbols of new life.

As for the chocolate versions – well, Joseph Fry of Bristol made the first chocolate Easter egg in 1873. And ever since then Easter has been very chocolaty – run almost entirely by the major supermarkets.

If you keep looking closely at Easter though, you’ll see that Christians all over the world have something substantially more exciting than a weekend chocolate coma to celebrate. If you look really closely then you’ll see that, from the earliest times, Christians wanted an annual celebration at the time of the Jewish feast called ‘Passover’ (usually in April) because that’s when Jesus was executed.

But why would Christians celebrate the execution of a man? Because, paradoxically, Jesus’s death means life!

Jesus is God’s son, sent to earth to point us back to God and sacrificed his life so that our sin might be cancelled.

Yet Christians don’t just focus on Jesus’s death. The climax of the Easter story comes a couple of days later when Jesus was resurrected from death. His tomb, which had been sealed, was now empty. Since then, people everywhere have had reason to hope because if Jesus can be resurrected, then so can we.

There’s an explanation of this in the Bible by a man called Paul who, at first, was opposed to Jesus and Christians. But Paul became both a believer and a Christian leader. Here’s a small part of a letter he wrote to Christians in the Greek city of Corinth.

For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4)

So, this Easter – as you spike your blood sugar on the finest chocolate confections, remember why Easter is so sweet. Remember the gift of new life he brings and the hope he gives you. Put your faith in him for the forgiveness of your sins.

Ian Brunton

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