C.H. Spurgeon

Sinners, let me address you with words of life; Jesus wants nothing from you, nothing whatsoever, nothing done, nothing felt; he gives both work and feeling. Ragged, penniless, just as you are, lost, forsaken, desolate, with no good feelings, and no good hopes, still Jesus comes to you, and in these words of pity he addresses you, "Him that cometh unto me I will in no wise cast out."

Comment Policy: No profanity or blasphemy will be posted. You do not have to agree, but if you would like your comment posted, you will have to adhere to the policy.


Friday, April 06, 2007

Easter: Eggs and Bunnies, Crosses and Tombs

As you know this Sunday, April 8, 2007 is known as Easter Sunday. As you enjoy time with your family and friends I would ask that you ponder a few things.

As Christians, are we really celebrating the risen Savior, the resurrection of Christ for our justification, or is it just a holiday in which we use His name? One might say, “That’s a crazy question, of course we are celebrating Jesus Christ on this day.”

This is what I find interesting:

1. We replace worship service preaching with music services. I am not against music, but scripture clearly says that the preaching of the cross is the power of God, not singing [1 Corinthians 1:18]. You could try and argue the point that singing is the same as proclaiming the gospel, but there may be some difficulty finding scriptural support. It is a well known fact that most people that hardly ever enter the doors of a church may visit on Christmas and Easter, so why then do we give them only singing; and maybe a five (5) minute thought and alter call?

2. We claim this day has a holiday to celebrate a risen Savior and we do it by cancelling services. Oh sure we have a small sunrise service, but often there is very few which attend. If this is a special Christian holiday, why then do we worship less than the other Sunday worship days when we hold morning and evening services?

3. We emphasize an Easter egg hunt with treats to encourage the children to come and bring their friends, so can they really concentrate on the most important story of all time, that Christ give himself ransom for the sins of man? So we have three (3) or four (4) times as many children show up this Sunday, can we really boast, since most came for candy and not Jesus Christ? “But so and so made a profession of faith.” Did they? Or was it to ensure they got to hunt for eggs. I am not saying one can not get saved through this method, but I believe my point has been made.

4. We sport our new clothes we purchased just for the occasion. Are we a little more interested in how we look and what others are wearing than how our Savior hung ashamed on the cross because of us?

5. We can find no scriptural support to consider this day to be a spiritual holiday by the words of Christ nor the apostle, yet let one say that it is based in pagan rituals or that Christ could not have died on Good Friday, and we want to gnaw and gnash at them for speaking ill of our scared day. Again, if such a scared day does exist, and it is this Sunday which we call Easter, why then do we do less for God this day than more?

Just some things to consider; If we are to be separate from the world so that they can see Christ through us, what will they see different in you this Sunday when you tell your kids the Easter Bunny came, they hunt for eggs, and the church is closed?

10 comments:

Paula Harrington said...

Have you considered worshipping somewhere different this year, You may be missing something :)

Writer, Splinters of Silver.com said...

Just to make sure the "we" meant as Christians, not necessarily my church.

But no, I hadn't thought of worshipping somewhere else this year.

Thanks for stopping by.

Samantha said...

You said, "4. We sport our new clothes we purchased just for the occasion. Are we a little more interested in how we look and what others are wearing than how our Savior hung ashamed on the cross because of us?"

That is so convicting because I was wanting to leave today so that I could, "buy something new for Easter."

Thank you for this sobering reminder.

Tony said...

I am not sure that I am following you completely. So, I am writing some of this for clarification and my answers are not meant for argument sake but simply to try and answer some of your questions.
When you say that we replace worship service with music services I am assuming you are referring to the Easter Cantata. Sometimes I do allow the Choir to have a full service. And sometimes that is on Sunday morning. But, I don't think I have ever done that on Easter Sunday morning but in any case which Sunday morning is not in question--just that fact that it is done period!

I use to fell the way you do. But I have learned a few things over the past 10 years.
1. USUALLY the faithful crowd are those in or associated with the choir. They love music and they love to sing and they serve the Lord with all their hearts. If that were not so they would not be in the choir. The choir takes much more of a commitment than virtually any other lay position in the church.
2. Singing Gospel music does have an impact upon both those who sing and those who listen intently to what is being sung. Martin Luther (the reformer in the 1500's) said: he could change peoples theology quicker with music than he could any other way. (That is not an exact quote but it is close).While many of us find the services that are musically lead kinda dull and empty, others find it pleasant and enjoyable. I BELIEVE THAT IN THE CHURCH SERVICES WE ARE TO BE MORE PRONE TO MINISTER TO THE CHURCH, THAN TRY TO MINISTER TO THOSE WHO AREN’T THERE OR ARE ONLY THERE IN PASSING! While the singing services may not touch you, it may have a huge impact on someone else. I have seen it happen many times.
3. It really does not matter if the gospel is sung or preached, those that come to faith in Christ will do so because of the drawing of the Holy Spirit. I have preached, visited, and witnessed to those whom you say only come to church once or twice a year at Christmas and Easter---yet nothing hardly ever seems to get through to them. I have resolved to thinking that unless God does something in their hearts, they won't change at all. There will be one man in particular at your church Sunday morning who openly calls himself an Easter bunny: meaning that he only comes out at Easter time. That man has heard me preach several times. I have reached out to him and tried to minister to him the best I know how, yet he remains unmoved. If what you say is true then something should have worked with him----yet it hasn’t.

You said: “We claim this day has a holiday to celebrate a risen Savior and we do it by cancelling services. Oh sure we have a small sunrise service, but often there is very few which attend. If this is a special Christian holiday, why then do we worship less than the other Sunday worship days when we hold morning and evening services?”
Every Sunday is a day in which we celebrate the risen Savior but the key word in this whole statement is “holiday.” Schools and many business let out Thursday and are not required back until Tuesday so may folks have a long weekend. During this time families get together. That means many folks travel. Some travel quite some distances. I tried to hold out when I first started and refused to cancel services, but I have seen what it has done to many folks who are trying to enjoy family (you know how stressful that can be :-)) it simply stresses them out the more. I have found that it is better to cancel an evening service so families can be together and not have to fell guilty about not coming to church. If you feel differently then this time is a perfect opportunity for you visit another church and you may find one more to your liking.
As for #3. I don’t ever remember having an Easter egg hunt at church. If that is happening at fellowship and you don’t like it, then I think the blogoshpere is the wrong place to be venting your frustrations (see Matthew 18). But, I have the sneaky suspicion that your comments are made to those who are NOT reading your blog. Please correct me if I am wrong.
As for #4 I see nothing wrong with buying new cloths for church. I believe we are to come to church in our best. I think this one is kinda nitpicky.
#5 are you venting again?

Closing comments: My ten year old (3rd grader) had to write an essay on what Easter means to me in public School. He started off his essay with: Easter is more to me than the Easter bunny and candy. Then he went on to share to gospel in a way that stunned even me! His essay witnessed this teacher and every other teacher in that hall as well as the principle. Now, you can contribute his response to being a preacher’s kid but I will attribute his response to more than that. His response came from the fact that he grew up in a Christian home and was taught well by godly men and women that you are now putting down in your blog (you will say that that was not the intent, but that is certainly the way it has come across to me).
We decided as few years ago that it would not hurt our kids to enjoy cultural practices as long as we were sure to teach them the truth. My son has demonstrated that he can enjoy those things and know the difference. I believe that you will find at that your kids and others in your church do as well because they too have been taught about the gospel of Christ.

Just my thoughts for what ever they are worth :-)

Tony

Writer, Splinters of Silver.com said...

Bro. Tony,

Was this a defense? hahaha

I hope I didn't come across as venting. What I have said is not directed at any particular church, or person, but things I have observed over the years. And I am not sure who reads my blog. :)

It was meant to give people something to think about. I can not judge someone's heart for sure, that is God's job anyway, but I do believe we need to think about what we do at this time that we are telling the world we as Chrisitans are celebrating the risen Savior. The world is always looking in on the Christians to see if we believe what we say we believe, and yes they will always find fault, but we are commanded to be a light.

As a personal note considering music, I do enjoy it. I like to hear the choir and specials, I am just not personally convinced that it should take the whole service - but I won't "buck" the system over it. :)

"those that come to faith in Christ will do so because of the drawing of the Holy Spirit." - I agree, but the only examples I see are preaching and witnessing in scripture. Music touches the emotions, but not always necessarily the heart.

"As for #3. I don’t ever remember having an Easter egg hunt at church. If that is happening at fellowship and you don’t like it, then I think the blogoshpere is the wrong place to be venting your frustrations (see Matthew 18)." - Come on now, you should know me better than that. Easter eggs hunts do not bother me, I am just not that excited about bringing in kids by commericalism - "Come to church you will be some candy." I would not use my blog to attack my own church. lol We're having the hunt tomorrow, not Sunday. :)

The major purpose of this post is so people can examine themselves - the motives behind what they do or don't do. Our personal relationship with Christ and what we are thinking on the inside matters, holiday or not.

Actually #5 is where tradition becomes sacred. One would say if I don't want to hunt eggs, then don't - If I want to go to church and its closed, then go somewhere else that night - If I don't like the singing go where there is preaching, etc. -- but if one were to say Easter began by pagan principles or question the tradition of Good Friday, for some reason SOME people get spitting mad... why is that? Can one voice their view of history while the other enjoys his Easter? :)

I have never kept my kids from Easter, or from song services, or egg hunts, etc. so you could call me a hypocrite, I suppose, but as I said through it all I believe we need to take a look inside and judge ourselves and our motivations behind what we are doing both for Easter and everyday of our lives.

So I wasn't venting and I wasn't directing any comments toward any certain person or place - just some thoughts I laid out on the table.

Sista Cala said...

Just the right message for the times. I heard someone commenting on the Easter bunny, santa clause, and the tooth fairy. The jist was this. When children are very young they are 'taught' to believe in these characters, hopefully taught to believe in Christ too. As they get older, they find out the truth of the EB,SC,&TF. Their parents lied to them. What is to keep them from thinking that Jesus Christ is no different from the fairy tales. Why wouldn't they think their parents lied about Him too?

Writer, Splinters of Silver.com said...

Interesting thought Sista Cala.

Anonymous said...

Opps. I forgot. We did have an easter egg hunt at church one time. I think it was last year or the year before. anyway---it wasn't on Sunday.

lol! This wasn't a defense. I just tried to give reasonable answers to the comments you raised that seeminly go unanswered. But, it did seem like you were venting at least a little :-)


And for Sista Cala: I have never known a child to grow up and say that there parents lied to them about Santa Clause and the Easter Bunny and felt that their parents lied to them about Christ to. That would just be another excuse that unbelievers would raise!

Regardless of how you fell about it, you are a product of your culture. You may not like certain aspects of it, but you are still shaped by your culture and worldviews. I do not see how a Christian can be any more salt and light by reframing from cultural practices that really harm nothing. But, there was a time when I thought much the same as you guys. I guess I am softening up a little with age.

As for "attacking my own church" or any other church, I think if you will loook at how you worded the post you might see what I saw.

Yes, I know you---that is why I found some of this kinda strange. So, I gave some reasonable answers to some of the thoughts you raised.

No defense just another view :-)

Happy Easter

Tony

Neva said...

I have never been a part of a church that did the things mentioned, nor am I now. However, my parents bought me new clothes every Easter and every Christmas---Mom says--that was when they had the best sales and grandma and grandpa sent extra money. :)

Good post, though.
Peace
neva

Stephen said...

goog post Tim.

John Bunyan

To be saved is to be preserved in the faith to the end. 'He that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.' (Mt. 24:13) Not that perseverance is an accident in Christianity, or a thing performed by human industry; they that are saved 'are kept by the power of God, through faith unto salvation.' (1 Pet. 1: 3-6) But perseverance is absolutely necessary to the complete saving of the soul…. He that goeth to sea with a purpose to arrive at Spain, cannot arrive there if he be drowned by the way; wherefore perseverance is absolutely necessary to the saving of the soul.