14 Apr 2021

“I Don’t Celebrate Easter, I remember the Resurrection every Sunday!” … I Do Both

Author: Bobby Valentine | Filed under: A Gathered People, Discipleship, Easter, Hermeneutics, Jewish Backgrounds, Lord's Supper, Patternism, Sabbath, Worship

Sometimes I am simply astonished by my brothers and sisters. Jesus once asked a group of Bible experts, “Is not this the reason you are wrong, that you know neither the scriptures nor the power of God” (Mk 12.24). Yes, this statement is directed to men who thought of themselves to be Bible experts.

A person has written to me, concerning Easter, “I am grateful that I remember the resurrection of Jesus every week not once a year.” And I’ve received other messages with the same basic message some nearly verbatim.

I have acknowledged neither. I had to refill my Cup of Java to make sure I was reading the rejection of “Easter/Pascha” correctly. Seriously brothers and sisters, is this supposed to be an objection?

Do these brothers/sisters actually believe that celebrating Easter (early Christians called it Pascha) implies in any universe, that Christians across the globe and thru the centuries celebrating Easter remember the resurrection only once a year! My friends this is actually absurd and I am not trying to be offensive by saying it is absurd. I just know of no other word suitable for it.

If you remember your wife/husband’s anniversary or birthday does that imply you are only grateful for them one day a year? Surely such is worse than silly. It is not even rational.

But these critics seem to not understand a biblical rhythm of life.

Sunday/Lord’s Day and Easter/Pascha function analogously to the Sabbath and Passover. I cannot stress enough that early Christians did not own personal New Testaments, much less Bibles. They learned the contents of the Story thru public worship. This is simply essential to grasp to understand early Christianity.

Early Christians for the first 100 or so years were mostly Jews. They had a “biblical” rhythm to life. That rhythm was dominated by the festivals. The sabbath is the first and primary festival in the Bible.

Sabbath and Passover are connected. So are Lord’s Day and Easter. Some (they do not know the scripture as Jesus said) do not seem to realize that the Sabbath remembers the liberation of slaves from Egypt, the Exodus just as much as it remembers the days of creation. This is stressed many times in the “Old Testament” not least in the Ten Words (Deuteronomy 5.12-15).

So every single week, Israelites, remembered the salvation by the grace of God in the Exodus. But also in the Passover feast, Israel celebrated the event and reenacted the event. They did not only remember God’s astonishing earth shattering grace on the 14th of Nisan. They did it weekly and had a shabbat meal, a miniature Passover.

Just so, the Lord’s Day with its meal remembers the astonishing grace of the God of the Exodus supremely in the death and resurrection of the Messiah. Early Christians and modern Christians, like Jews around the world, remember the foundational events of faith every single week.

But Easter/Pascha was viewed in the early church just as the Passover was for a millennia prior to Jesus. The Passover celebrates what the Sabbath does. Easter celebrates what the Lord’s Day does. There was no competition between Sabbath and Passover nor is there any between the Christian Pascha/Easter and the Lord’s Day.

Early Christianity was born in, shaped by, and has the DNA of the Hebrew Bible and Judaism ground into it. It is astonishing how little we understand our own faith.

To celebrate Easter hardly implies only remembering the resurrection once a year. It is the “Christian Passover.” It is genetically connected to the weekly “festival” of gathering in the name of the Lord … the God of the Resurrection is the same God of the Exodus which is why Jesus used the PASSOVER as his Last Supper in the first place. (See how Paul connects them in 1 Corinthians 5.7).

Remember that Jesus, the Apostles, James, Paul, etc were, and are, Jews. The book they wrote, we call it the New Testament, is a Jewish book.

6 Responses to ““I Don’t Celebrate Easter, I remember the Resurrection every Sunday!” … I Do Both”

  1. Brian B. Says:

    I am part of a congegration that is using lectionary readings for our services and classes. Our Sunday sermon is based on the Narrative Lectionary and my bible class is based on the RCL. When I was explaining the concept to my class, I was aked about the rigidity of the RCL and whether accomodations would be made for days like Mother’s Day. It seems as though some have a higher view of the cultural celebrations than the historic, traditional celebrations of the church.

  2. Mike Christian Says:

    Good stuff Bobby! Thanks for this article.

  3. John Acufff Says:

    Bobby when you are hot you are very hot and this is spot I was kind of hit today as I often ask new facebook friends usually a few dozen every month “what are you reading and from looking at our friends I said i see you are part of the Stone Campbell tribe and what are you reading?” I ask that as i find some really good books that way esp from this crazy guy who rides Harleys the answer was I am a member of no tribe I am a Christian and i only read the bible. I suggested that you did not get points for reading the Bible only from Jesus.

  4. HENRY BURDEN Says:

    WE HAVE BEEN PROGRAMED FOR GENERATIONS TO SAY SUCH….I BELIEVE THE CELEBRATION OF THE BIRTH OF JESUS AND RESURRECTION DAY ARE GREAT….HOWEVER LET US BE VERY CAREFUL IN USING TERMS LIKE HOLY WEEK, GOOD FRIDAY, ETC ETC….

  5. Dwight Says:

    I have a similar reaction when I hear that we come together to remember Jesus only on the first day of the week, which implies that we do not remember Jesus any other time. How can we do anything if notnin Jesus name? The Lord’s Supper wasn’t meant to limit our remembrance, but a time to celebrate it with others.

  6. James Says:

    In my case my ignorance is slowly reduced when reading articles like this – thank you. (I have expressed similar statements that are the reason you wrote the article).
    Keep in mind that for many of us our ignorance is a reflection of the pulpit.

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