In some ways it’s not hard to imagine a world without Easter. Even though most are pleased to enjoy the blessing of a long weekend, most live without Easter making any difference to their lives.
It’s not that the public holiday is the issue. Many of us enjoy other public holidays, without making much difference to our own lives. If our theme was ‘Imagine a world without the Adelaide Cup’, we’d probably think we’d be all the better for it!
When Tom Playford was premier during the war years, he shut down the racing industry. Apparently the Prime Minister of the day had issued the instruction to close non-essential services because of the war effort, and Playford thought racing fitted the category (this was reportedly not what the PM had in mind, and the industry was reinstated a year later).
What would happen if we shut down the Easter ‘industry’?
A lot less chocolate and hot cross buns. An outcry probably because it is the longest of all the long weekends, and is a timely break given people’s usually busy start to the year.
Christians of course see Easter not as an industry, but an opportunity. To remember afresh the historical reality of Jesus’ earthly ministry, climaxing in his death and resurrection. A time when we are reminded that death has not had the final say. The Gospel writers make clear that Jesus’ resurrection is an event that changed history, and more personally, changed lives.
The authored works, the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke & John) work in two ways. They speak about Jesus’ life and sacrificial ministry, his death and resurrection, recording the events and the response to them, as historical occurrences. They may be examined and reflected upon. Even if we choose not to repent and believe the gospel, they are true regardless. The biographies themselves include the truth that many hear the good news about Jesus and choose to reject it.
Secondly, the Gospel biographies are Jesus speaking to all generations, throughout all ages. His words are living and active, because he is now the resurrected Lord who has conquered death and speaks today through his word. Reading about him is only part of the Bible’s goal. Responding to him and receiving life in him is the ultimate purpose.
Imagine a world where death wins. Thankfully we don’t have to.