“One person regards one day above another, another regards every day alike.  Each person must be fully convinced in His own mind.  He who observes the day, observes it for the Lord…” (Romans 14:5-6).

Given the diversity of religious backgrounds and congregational contexts in which people are raised, I know that some of us grew up in homes and churches in which Easter Sunday was a big deal every Spring.  I also know that others may have come from backgrounds where Easter was virtually ignored (maybe even maligned) on the basis that it was considered to be an extra-Biblical, post-apostolic innovation, the popular celebration of which was built largely upon pagan fertility notions and imagery.  Other families were “tweeners” that celebrated the cultural and commercial aspects of the day, but downplayed the religious significance. 

While the apostle Paul was most likely addressing issues connected with the Sabbath and Jewish feast days in the Romans 14 passage above, the Holy Spirit also knew that the church in subsequent centuries and millennia would face similar questions about the observance of special days.  Offered in the context of his discussion of freedom in Christ in matters of opinion and personal judgment, Paul’s answer was essentially, “Do whatever your conscience and heart lead you to do.  Do it (or don’t) for the Lord and His glory, and grant to others the same liberty, without judgment or condemnation.”

I have fond memories of Easter Sundays as a child.  Dyeing real boiled eggs (cool activity if you’ve never done it!); egg hunts; Easter baskets; chocolate bunnies; big crowds at church; ham, mashed potatoes and green beans for lunch; six inches of snow one Easter morning in Louisville, Kentucky.  Easter was special to me then, but it is even more significant to me now. 

I know that the word Easter does not appear in the New Testament (except in the KJV of Acts 12:4, where it mistranslates the Greek word for Passover).  But, I also know this: the crucified Christ was raised to life by the power and glory of the Father on the Sunday following Passover.  It was precisely at this time of year 1,980 years ago that Death was deprived of its sting and the Grave’s victory was taken away.

While the weekly memorial feast that we observe with bread and wine proclaims the body and blood of the Savior’s sacrifice and death, we celebrate it in anticipation of the Risen Christ’s return.  In that sense, every Sunday is Easter.  Just ask a Russian!  The Russian word for Sunday is Voskresenie, meaning “Resurrection.”

Happy Resurrection Day!