It’s not easy growing up Adventist. That sentence generally irritates those who either came in late or those who left early….and often. It’s hard enough “resting” when others are playing, watching antelope documentaries instead of Saturday morning cartoons, and being warned about the evil of M&Ms….caffiene. But then there are the holidays.
We don’t like to be confused with Jehovah’s Witnesses, but Adventists can be their kissing cousins when it comes to holidays. Christmas? No! Thanksgiving? No thanks. Halloween? Are your insane! It can be a confusing kill joy for young and old alike.
But wait! I hear the single voice that many Adventists will hear. “ It can be made to serve a very good purpose.” (AH 477.) Thank you Sister White. You are consistently more balanced and practical than many of your followers. She shared this Christmas counsel that can also be helpful for other holidays. Certainly the Easter holiday.
Easter deserves special attention. Easter is one of the few days on the calendar that grabs the attention of Christians and non-Christians alike. Despite all the commercialism and confusion, Easter is a day that celebrates the resurrection of Jesus Christ. That alone is reason enough for Seventh-day Adventists to celebrate Easter. Here’s why:
“Of all professing Christians, Seventh-day Adventists should be foremost in uplifting Christ.” (Ellen White, Evangelism p. 188)
As imperfect as the holiday is, it’s an opportunity to lift up Jesus. And frankly, Adventists are internationally known for a lot of things, but lifting up Jesus is NOT one of them. The resurrection that Easter celebrates is also especially meaningful because it’s a foundation of our faith. Paul puts it this way.
“And if Christ has not been raised, then all our preaching is useless, and your faith is useless.” – I Corinthians 15:14
So let me give you 3 reasons that Adventists should celebrate Easter.
Number One: We should celebrate Easter because it’s not about the day but the Daystar!
The problem with Easter is the stuff that distracts: Easter bunnies, Easter eggs, Easter parades and Easter fashion. And for some Adventists, the biggest distraction is that it’s celebrated on Sunday. (They miss the irony of criticizing Christians for celebrating the resurrection on the day that Christ was resurrected. Go figure.) But don’t be distracted. The main attraction of Easter is Jesus and His resurrection. Everything else is secondary at best.
And please spare me the “pagan origins” of Easter arguments. Be consistent. If we go down that road, let’s stop at the pagan origin of the names of weekdays and months, church steeples and clergy robes, wedding rings and flowers at funerals. And don’t forget money. Surely you’ve noticed the pagan symbols on some of our currency? So, in the spirit of Christian brotherhood, I’ll hold your money while you work through these issues. You’re welcome. Point is, lift up Jesus.
Number Two: We should celebrate Easter because we need to fellowship with other faiths.
There are not many opportunities for different faith traditions to come together without a fight. We generally emphasize our differences. Adventists need a reminder of how much we have in common with other Christians. With certain obvious exceptions, we agree in most areas of doctrine with most mainline Christian denominations. In fact, historically and theologically, Adventists are about as close to the Methodist church as another denomination can get.
Here’s the thing. Easter Sunday is a great time for Christians of all faiths to focus on the thing they have in common – their appreciation for the sacrifice of Jesus Christ and His resurrection. Fellowship and friendship lead to dialogue. Honest dialogue is what we need to understand and respect the beliefs of others and to share what we believe.
Number Three: We should celebrate Easter because a Resurrected God can resurrect YOU!
“But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all men die, so in Christ all will be made alive!” 1 Corinthians 15: 20122
This pandemic season has been marked by a series on untimely and incredibly painful deaths. My brother-in-law George Seay, Pastor Duane Thomas, and young Brian Thomas, to name a few. Paul reminds us that theresurrection promises victory over the death.
But the resurrection also promises power while we live. Romans 8 says that the same power that raised Jesus from the dead can live inside of us. That’s real power. Resurrection power.• Power to resurrect our broken lives• Power to resurrect our messed up marriages• Power to resurrect our frustrated dreams• Power to resurrect our wasted gifts and talents
That’s the real meaning of Easter. It’s another chance to say, “I need you”, or “I thank you.” It would be great to say that with other believers, but that’s not a deal breaker. Find a way to celebrate Easter that works best for you. It may be virtual or on a hillside. But don’t miss this chance to celebrate the Risen Savior. He lives!