Why Celebrate Easter?
Why should we celebrate Easter?
Because it’s tradition? Because it’s a good family time? Or, simply, because of the resurrection of Christ?
Let’s consider the question from the context of our own day and age. Is there really something more to the celebration of Easter than just habit?
To answer that, a quick survey of the cultural landscape is in order.
For the past several centuries the Western world has been in the grip of what has been known as modernity. When we speak of modernity, we are not speaking of the latest technologies and trends – but a way of looking at the world.
With modernity, God was locked in the basement. His existence was not entirely denied, but He was only hauled out for certain occasions – like Christmas and Easter.
According to modernity, God was not needed to bring about a better world. Man could do it himself. By his own industry and intelligence (so it was thought), man could bring about an era of peace and prosperity without divine help.
But by the end of the last century – a century that brought us countless wars, economic shenanigans, and the sexual revolution – modernity’s arrogance was being called into question. Modernity had failed to give us the nirvana it promised.
This has led to our present age, which has been called postmodernity.
With postmodernity, there’s a wariness of the propaganda and power grabs that were such a selfish part of modernity. There’s also a realization that locking God in the basement may not have been a good idea, so there’s a renewed interest in spirituality.
But postmodernity offers more of a critique than anything constructive.
With postmodernity, life is little more than a smorgasbord, with each one creating his or her own reality. There’s no objective truth, and there’s no larger purpose that gives shape to one’s life. Because postmodernity’s prevailing mood is suspicious and cynical, it does little to deliver us from the alienation and selfishness created by modernity.
It’s into this environment that the message of Christ and His resurrection bring reason for celebration.
Postmodernity will never provide a satisfying answer to modernity because, like its predecessor, it lacks love. But Christ answers modernity’s selfishness by His self-denying love on the cross.
Moreover, by His resurrection He shows that He can’t be kept in the basement. He is Lord of all. And He’s been raised from the dead to bring about a new creation and further God’s story of redemption in this world.
Why, then, should we celebrate Easter? Not just because Jesus secured the forgiveness of sins (Rom.4:25). Not just because the resurrection assures us of life after death (1 Cor.15). But because through His new life from the grave, Jesus Christ brings the healing and promise of a new creation – and we participate in that renewal as we live by faith in Him (2 Cor.5:17).
Easter is just what our gloomy, postmodern age needs. In it, God shows forth a love that overcomes our doubts and a power that restores our hope.
Pass the ham, and praise the Lord!