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What is it about nice people that attract total idiots?Nice people are martyrs. Idiots are evangelists.


Sunday, April 20, 2014

Sunday message: Celebrating the day

Obviously the elephant in the room today is IT'S EASTER!  But to get to the major incident, I am going to go through a minor one.

Friday, I had mentioned to a co-worker who was VERY frustrated over another co-worker's work ethic, "Well, everyone has Easter on the brain."  His snapped response was, "I don't have Easter on the brain!  It's not even a Christian holiday!"  To which I responded "Paul said it doesn't matter if you celebrate it or not, as long as you celebrate or don't celebrate to the Lord."  Whether through my deathless wisdom, the realization of facing a person versed in the Bible, or just realizing he was dangerously close to opening a can of worms that belonged not at the time and place he let it slip out, he thoughtfully shrugged and said no more about it.  And truthfully, whether he may be a Jehovah's witness (with which I've had this discussion before), an atheist just spouting the company sound-bite, or a religious person not willing to debate in the middle of a workplace catastrophe, it doesn't really matter.

The point is, this idea of attacking Easter and Christmas over their "pagan origins" has been all the rage in recent years.  May I introduce you who think that is important to the verses I semi-quoted, in Romans 14:

14 Receive one who is weak in the faith, but not to disputes over doubtful things. For one believes he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats only vegetables. Let not him who eats despise him who does not eat, and let not him who does not eat judge him who eats; for God has received him. Who are you to judge another’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. Indeed, he will be made to stand, for God is able to make him stand.
One person esteems one day above another; another esteems every day alike. Let each be fully convinced in his own mind. He who observes the day, observes it to the Lord;[a] and he who does not observe the day, to the Lord he does not observe it. He who eats, eats to the Lord, for he gives God thanks; and he who does not eat, to the Lord he does not eat, and gives God thanks. For none of us lives to himself, and no one dies to himself. For if we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord.

This is basically Paul telling those who make a deal out of this, "SO WHAT?"   So at one point the Church Fathers wanted to give the people a celebration of the Lord's birth and the Lord's resurrection- and decided to kill two birds with one stone by overwriting popular pagan holidays with them.  So what if we do not know the actual days?  If you are such a perfectionist, why do you not celebrate Independence Day on July, 2nd, since the 4th was merely the day that news of what happened on the second was announced?  Let's hear from John Adams on the subject:

The second day of July, 1776, will be memorable epocha in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations, as the great Anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the day of deliverance by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp, shews, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires and illuminations, from one end of the continent to the other, from this time forward forever.

The point was NEVER supposed to be the day, but the celebration.  And while when we were under the Law, God had set up a string of festivals on certain days during the growing season, once we were under grace, Jesus commanded but one celebration- that of the Lord's Supper.

But there again, there is a big fight and hurt feelings between Catholics and the rest of Christendom- is it symbolic of His body and blood, or transubstantiated INTO His body and blood.  Now there, to me, I believe it was supposed to be strongly symbolic.  Here's why.  Jesus told Peter back when he was just Simon, "You are Rock, and on this Rock I shall build my Church, and the gates of hell will not stand against it. "  Did Peter turn to stone?  Before you dismiss that as ridiculous, as Jesus once said, "Remember Lot's wife".  And minutes later, Jesus also told Peter, "Get thee hence, Satan!"  Now Peter, the flawed man, was no more the Devil himself that He was a rock on which the Church was built.  One was symbolic of the Faith that drove Peter to say one thing- and that Faith is the actual Rock for which Peter was a symbol- and the other was symbolic of the concern with this world over the next which drove Peter to say another thing.  So either the Rock of the Church is Satan, or the Lord needs to be taken literally when He's obviously being literal, and figuratively when He's obviously being figurative.

But does that mean you go to hell if you don't believe the wafer is now supernaturally become the material of flesh?  What did Paul just say?  The important thing is, whether it is a wafer, the flesh of Jesus, or a soda cracker, what are YOU saying to Jesus, what are you hearing FROM Him, when you take it?

We live in a society that wants to waste it's time battling over every square inch of air they can puff through their vocal cords.  Thus we have people taking what WAS a night where kids could dress up like super heroes or princesses and get candy from neighbors and turn it into either "That's celebrating evil" or "I'm a witch and that offends me."  We have Christmas trees becoming holiday trees and Easter eggs becoming "spring eggs".  Jimmy can't even give a Valentine to Sally because then little Julie might be sad that she only got 19 valentine cards to Sally's 25.  I think I can speak, at least for Paul, in saying this:


Thank you, have a blessed Easter.  The Lord has risen indeed!


  1. CW-

    I'm not sure I'd agree with your co-worker's conclusion that the celebration has pagan origins anyway-the timing of the celebration has pagan origins, but as you point out, that was by design.

    So yes, there used to be Wiccan celebrations at the winter solstice and spring equinox, and yes, the early church set Easter on the first Sunday after the full moon following the spring equinox (I think the first Nicean council did this in 325 AD).

    And even the name Easter may be derived from the name of an Anglo-Saxon goddess.

    And yes, the early church intentionally usurping the pagan celebrations. And I would suspect that the proximity to the Jewish Passover holidays is also no coincidence.

    Yet, the Christian celebration of Easter Sunday has only ONE origin-the commemoration of Jesus Christ rising from the dead.

    And the atheists and agnostics can challenge that all they want, but they're wrong. And quite frankly, if they were secure in their disbelief, they wouldn't care. Kwanza comes and goes every year and I mark it with the same importance...actually less importance, as "Festivus," the fictional Seinfeld holiday.

    So you nailed it-the actual date is not important...the event is.

    So happy "Early-Roman-Catholic-Church-Usurped-Spring-Celebration" to you!

    And a Happy Easter as well!


  2. Whatever the semantics, arguments, or discussions; as LC said the important FACT is that He is Risen. Death has no victory.

    Happy Easter to you and your family.

    1. Thank you, hope yours was blessed as well.

  3. They strain out gnats and swallow camels!

    Happy Resurrection Celebration Day to you, BROTHER MARTIN.

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

    1. Big fat fuzzy camels at that. I've spit up my share of camel-hairballs myself. I have re-dedicated myself to the important things- like getting people to understand Jesus beyond the sound bites that both sides use. Hope your day was blessed as well.

  4. Chris:
    I think you speak for a LOT more than just Paul here.

    We, as Christians need to (re)claim and re-establish that which is being removed from our sight.
    Even Jesus went into the temple and overturned a few of the money-changers tables along the way.

    A-men, brother.
    Well said!

    Have a very Blessed Easter.

    1. But we have to watch the line between "turning over the tables" and "you know not what spirit you are".