John 20:1-18 â€“ Easter Sunday â€“ for April 8, 2012
â€œThe Peter and the other disciple set out and went toward the tombâ€¦â€ (John 20:3)
Is there anything I could write about Easter to inspire, irk, deflate or deepen your faith? I doubt it.
You probably know what youâ€™d answer if asked about the importance of Easter . . . and youâ€™re the only one whoâ€™d know if what you said aloud is different from what you believed in your heart of hearts.
Easter is fact first, faith second. No, reverse the order.
Itâ€™s about the empty tomb. Or not.
Or this . . . arenâ€™t we glad, when Peter eased into the tomb, that he spotted the â€œlinen wrappingâ€ used for Jesusâ€™ body? But Peterâ€™s discovery only occurred in Johnâ€™s Gospel and therefore the added bonus of forensic evidence seems as flimsy as cheap muslin. How could Johnâ€”the final Gospel written, the Johnny-come-lately account of Jesusâ€™ lifeâ€”have a disciple witness the burial garment and Matthew, Mark and Luke are silent, or â€œblind?â€ Without the fickle fabric, I wonder* if weâ€™d have the centuries-long Shroud of Turin controversy? If John didnâ€™t become part of the New Testament (and most gospels written in the early centuries of Christendom werenâ€™t included), the folks embracing/rejecting claims about Turinâ€™s (in)famous shroud wouldnâ€™t have any Easter â€œmaterialâ€ to stitch together or tear apart.
Or this . . . isnâ€™t it odd the word itselfâ€”Easterâ€”has so little to do with Jesus the Christâ€™s resurrection? Convenient Wikipedia posits about the word’s etymology this way:
The modern English term “Easter” is the direct continuation of Old English Ä’astre, whose role as a goddess is attested solely by Bede in the 8th century. Ä’ostre is the Northumbrian form, while Ä’astre is more common West Saxon.
Huh? As a preacher, shouldnâ€™t I fear a random layperson, some guy or gal whoâ€™s quietly occupied the pew all year long, abruptly rising before the sermon begins and askingâ€”nay, demandingâ€”an explanation for how Christianityâ€™s holiest day got linked to a Northumbrian goddess? Whew! . . . it likely wonâ€™t happen. Most folks are too polite. Thank God. Continue reading →