Monday, April 2, 2018

Why my family refers to "Easter" day as "The Lord's Day" and to Easterized celebration as "Fertility Fest"

A friend, whose thoughtfulness and sincerity I very much appreciate, posted on Facebook:
Can't enjoy a single holiday without 30 knowitalls coming out of their parents basements to warn us about the "pagan roots" of it. "Don't eat peeps, that's honoring Ishtar the fertilizer bunny god from 4000 b.c., I bet you didn't know that huh" Thanks... I do now...
I started to comment, but the comment got longish. And, since I've been misunderstood on this point more than a few times, I thought it might be helpful to share my thoughts in a more easily searchable location.

There's a difference between important knowledge and being a know-it-all. So, I hope that you'll receive this as one and not the other. We're actually studying Romans 14 this week with our church/family, and the reminder that our heart and consideration for others in the midst of disagreement is vital to recognizing and treating them as those who belong to the Lord. The Lord's providential timing is marvelous!

There are multiple fertility deities in the ancient near-east that go by similar names. Oestre, Estare, Ishtar, Ashteroth, Ashera, etc. They all have a resurrection / fertility-renewal feast in the spring. You can imagine what fertility cult celebration of renewed fertility might involve... not particularly godly (believe it or not; peeps isn't the worst thing humans have indulged in during springtime celebrations).

Idols are not anything, but demons are something, and they masquerade as idols to be sacrificed to (1Cor 10:18-20). So, I would be careful of the fertility symbols (bunnies, eggs), and of a name that is etymologically connected to possibly the name of an ancient demon that has deceived so many into so much sin for thousands of years.

I personally am opposed to observance of the day at all not due to its pagan origins (the sovereign God of all providence does not find it challenging to use a pagan to produce something good), but due to its man-made origins.

I see repeatedly in Scripture the principle that anything of a religious nature that is invented by man is idolatry. And, since, by Christ's glorious finished work, the Lord obsoleted all of His own religious days that looked forward to Christ, I have an even stronger aversion to the creation of new religious observance days.

That said, there are a large number of believers who wish to unitedly celebrate the resurrection in a special way once a year. I think that we have already been given 52 such glorious days that cannot be improved upon. The Lord has created the Lord's Day for us! Who can better it? This is also why I don't like to say "Sunday" (God has given the Lord's Day its name), or "Resurrection Sunday" (does that mean there are 51 Lord's Days that are somehow "less resurrectiony"?). I don't despise you if you do. Don't worry that I think less of you, and please don't judge me for my practice either!

If you're going to observe the day though, may I suggest going with an ancient, if plain, a name that has been used in some Eastern churches for generations? "The Feast of the Glorious Resurrection"

(btw--I love non-religious, non-"holy" holidays... commemorating events, celebrating life, rejoicing over relationships... that's all fantastic stuff. Just don't feel like you have to make up a religious reason for it... leave the invention of religion to God alone. Man-made religion only succeeds in taking the things that God values as most important and devaluing them. Case in point: pharisees who had lots of well-meaning ideas but for the most part lost love of man and God to the point that they both failed to recognize the Christ and hated Him to the point of murder. Easy to bash them, so let's not turn around and be like them!)

No comments:

Post a Comment