What are you doing for Easter?

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Last night, I had went out to eat with some friends from church.

Over the drunken noodles and the pad thai, the topic of Easter came up. One of my friend wanted to know if I was interested in going to a service with her on Sunday to celebrate Easter. The service was being held at one of the large non-Adventist church’s downtown. Having no other options, at least at our church, this seemed to me like a great idea.

This conversation stands in direct contrast with one I had with another friend a couple weeks before. It was after the worship service, and she found out that I, along with a few other friends, were organizing a Good Friday vespers with readings, prayers, etc. She was surprised. “You celebrate Easter?” (By “you”, I believe she was both referring to both the congregation and me.)

Surprisingly, we actually ended up having a nice conversation about the pagan origins of the holiday.

Both friends, I should clarify, are “young adults” from church.

Anyway, at our church, we’ll be observing Good Friday, largely because my friends are putting it together a vespers service, but there’s no Easter service on Sunday. (I’m not sure what we’ll be doing on Sabbath, but a full-blown out Easter service seems a day premature.)

All this brings some questions to mind. What are the attitudes you encounter at your church towards Easter? Are they largely positive/negative/indifferent?

Does your local church celebrate Easter? If so, is the service actually on Sunday?

What will you be planning/participating in any Easter type programs/services? Do you have any ideas that others could use, especially ones that might be effective with young adults?

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8 Responses to What are you doing for Easter?

  1. carolynmacomber says:

    This doesn’t necessarily answer the question about how my church celebrates Easter or even ideas for young adults – but it is what I’ll be doing for Easter.

    My Methodist neighbors invited me for Easter dinner. I have enjoyed other holiday meals with them and was excited to be included in yet another celebration. They have traveled with Adventists before and understand some of the nuances of my religion. So in addition to an Easter ham for lunch they are making tortellini (just for me), ofcourse, they will enjoy it too. They have always been sensitive to some of the things that they know I practice – Sabbath observance, dietary things, etc.

    So why do I share this. I love celebrating with my non-SDA brothers and sisters. I love the fact that even though we worship differently (Sabbath vs. Sunday) we can love each other and love God. Maybe that sounds too simplistic. I hope that I will be sensitive to others as my neighbors have been sensitive to me – loving others as I myself have been loved.

  2. manny says:

    the question is interesting: “what are the attitudes you encounter at your church towards easter?” i recall one easter at a church i worked with. they were largely negative towards easter. there were a select few who were either ambivalent or all for doing a church egg hunt! at any rate, the following year i decided to hold an easter series. it was the year gibson’s, “the passion,” came out and so i was able to piggyback off of that as well. we started on sunday (palm sunday) and when through wednesday with the theme of who Jesus was. thursday evening we went through the last supper and celebrated a communion service. friday we focused on Jesus’ trial and why He had to suffer. on sabbath we built tension because Jesus was in the tomb. what would happen? what were the disciples going through? what about living a life without Jesus? early sunday morning we celebrated His resurrection and the theme of eternal life through His conquering of death! afterwards we celebrated with an meal. it was a great experience.

    the church was not keen on the idea at first, but we went ahead, invited the community, and it turned out to be a great blessing. the visitors, and even some church members, days later began to ask me if we could plan another series like this for next year so they could invite their friends!

    so there you have it. nothing grand, but as i think back to that experience, i can’t help but think of how awesome it is that we, people of all faiths and backgrounds, can come together around one common theme — that is Jesus. after His death and resurrection, news of Him spread like wildfire and 2,000 some odd years later we’re still talking about it. why? maybe that’s something to explore with young adults especially when you compare it to “celebrity-ism” and the “15 minutes of fame.”

    don’t think the subject of Jesus can be talked about enough. as it is sung, “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus…there’s just something about that name.”

  3. Delina says:

    Last year our church tried to do a Sunday morning service. We were out of town, so we didn’t go, but it was super controversial. I don’t understand why “Remember the Sabbath day” means “Shut the doors tight on Sunday.”
    I think it should be celebrated and it should be as huge a deal as Christmas.

  4. Zane says:

    Carol – Thanks for sharing! Have a wonderful time with your neighbors celebrating the big day.

    Manny – Your experiences, when it comes to attitudes about Easter, mirror in some ways my own, although I’ve never heard of people opting for an Easter egg hunt in lieu of a Easter service! When I was a student at Southern, the school would host a Passion play over Easter weekend that would draw many non-Adventists in the community. This to back your point that this is an excellent opportunity to celebrate THE central event of Christianity with other Christians.

    Delina – I agree with you that worshiping on Sabbath does not exclude the celebration of Easter on Sunday once a year…or worship in general on other Sundays at all!

  5. Ryan Bell says:

    I’ve always been puzzled about this. How can a Christian be “negative toward Easter” unless they completely miss the whole story of the gospel? Perhaps that’s the answer. I have pastored several church and all of them, including my current church in Hollywood, had a few people who were very against Easter. This always had more to do with the calendar than with Jesus resurrection, but the calendar got all the attention while Jesus’ resurrection, well…mostly ignored.

    In Hollywood tonight we will be having a Good Friday Vespers service planned by our young adults. Tomorrow we celebrate Easter on Sabbath, though I agree with Zane, I’m not totally comfortable with being a day early. We do baptisms on Easter Sabbath so one girl will be getting baptized – a young adult.

    Ideally what I would do is have an Easter service and a Holy Saturday service, but an additional complication in many Adventist church (including Hollywood) is that we rent to another church that meets on Sunday morning. This is the most important day of their year. I have an idea for next year, but will people really go to church two days in a row? It’s complicated for Adventists, isn’t it?

  6. aamphd says:

    While church planting in Celebration, my favorite holiday was the Passion week. I would enjoy Maundy Thursday and Good Friday services with my Presbyterian and Non-denominational neighbors.

    On the “Great Sabbath,” Christ would take centerstage in our services, reflecting on His journey to the cross and in anticipation of what was yet to come.

    Then early before dawn, all of us–Adventists, Charismatics, Presbyterians, Lutherans, and Non-denominationals–would gather at a lakeside park downtown to celebrate that “great wakin’ up mornin’.”

    We would sing our hearts out, in praise of a glorified Jesus, letting our voices ripple across the water into the homes of our neighbors. We enjoyed watching the rays of dawn glisten on the lake as we remembered how easily boulders are rolled away by celestial sentinels. We shared in the emblems of His body and blood, as all of us pastors would recite to communion participants “This is what Jesus did for You.”

    Early on Sunday morning, on a dew drenched lawn, a collection of Jesus-followers, of various faith traditions, would come to watch and remember the Son rise.

    For me it felt like a movie-trailer for heaven. Definitely a favorite holiday.

  7. Zane says:

    Ryan – How’d the Good Friday service go?

    Our congregation faces a similar issue with Sunday renters. We rent to a Anglican church.

    About the church two days in a row issue…I think that most Adventist that are interested in actually doing an Easter service would make an exception for one weekend out of the year…

    A possible solution: Don’t charge the Sunday church rent on Easter and ask them if they are open to having a combined worship service. I think this would be a powerful symbol of Christian unity–much like what Allan describes (Thanks Allan, for a the beautiful description of your experience.)

    Happy Easter, all!

  8. Rodlie Ortiz says:

    Fascinating discussion. We always do things are Carrollwood SDA Church for easter. Last year we made a whole weekend of it including a sunday morning sunrise service with breakfast afterwards.

    This year we’re having a special agape feast on Food Friday and on Sabbath we’re having a special service and launching a children’s church program at the same time. We’ve invited the community to celebrate with us. We think it might be big. We’re all praying.
    By the way @Zane, that idea of not charging renters on that Sunday is a crazy awesome idea. Love it.

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