What is an Australian Easter? It’s a bit different from Christmas, with its strong family associations and big lunches or dinners. Easter does mean chocolate, mostly eggs and bunnies.
But I think the Easter most Aussies think about is the holiday. The 4-day week-end, just long enough to get away for a few nights or to get out into the garden. And the weather is often great.
It fits well with the Aussie way of life: we like getaways and outdoor activities, and ironically sometimes need to be forced to take time out to do these things.
What place then does the Christian message have? It’s actually pretty jarring. Good Friday represents the cruel death of the one we call the Son of God, literally thousands of years ago, and literally on the other side of the planet. This part of Easter probably struggles for RELEVANCE for many people. So remote in concept, time and place.
And then on Easter Day there is the claim of resurrection from the dead. That this Son of God remained dead only for a few days and then appeared to his followers. This part of Easter probably struggles for BELIEVABILITY for many.
How about you? In the end, the Christian message is not about telling people they must go to church instead of going on holiday. It is a message that requires a personal response. What do you YOU make of Easter? Do you believe that these events actually happened?
The impact of Easter involves coming to terms with these extraordinary things that God did in our world. We may want him to take away our illnesses, our financial struggles, or our relationship difficulties. And yet Easter challenges us to ask whether God himself might have some kind of agenda for the world.
After all, if he allowed his son to be nailed to a cross, he must have been doing something important. Likewise, if death itself is reversed at the first Easter, God must have some kind of agenda for the world… what is it?
My family and I wish you a happy (and reflective!) Easter.