I am greatly troubled by how the church so often looks just like the world. We have even brought pagan holidays right into our assemblies. One of the worst offenses happens in almost every evangelical church just as we celebrate the resurrection of our Lord (I know we should be celebrating Jesus' resurrection every time we gather, but let's leave that for another post).
On Resurrection Sunday, more popularly known as Easter, our churches often celebrate by having the little kids run around the church grounds looking for hidden eggs full of candy. The children usually draw or paint some kind of picture of a bunny while in Sunday School. In order to spiritualize it all, the pictures sometimes have a rabbit with a basket of eggs praying in front of a cross. Yuck.
Could we please just give the pagans back their traditions?
We recently received a newspaper clipping from my in-laws, who live in Northern New York State. The clipping shows a few pagans celebrating the spring equinox at St. Lawrence University. The article says, "Attendees celebrated Ostara, a nature-based festival centered on the spring equinox."
Describing the celebration, the reporter writes of what occurred after a drumbeat started, "Unable to resist the rhythm, attendees began to twirl and dance in a circle. Lights streamed through the stained-glass windows as attendees processed around the altar, a table bearing candles and ritual items. Attendees invoked the powers of north, south, east, and west, symbolized by earth, fire, air, and water."
One part of the article in particular caught my attention. It reads, "One of the attendees portrayed the 'Ostara Bunny,' by donning rabbit ears and hopping around the room to offer chocolates and eggs."
The person dressed as the bunny said, "We're also reclaiming the symbols the Christians have assimilated. Eggs and rabbits are fertility symbols. Spring promises a new beginning, just like eggs promise a new beginning - a new life."
If pagans want their own symbols returned, then let's do it. If they want the word "Ostara," then let's give them "Easter." Why don't we just call the Christian celebration "Resurrection Sunday"?
If pagans want their bunnies and eggs returned, then let's cooperate. They can have them. This would only help the church get rid of pagan ideas that have made the church more worldly over the years.
Could we please just look to the bible to gain our beliefs and practices instead of always compromising with culture? Could we allow the scriptures to guide all we do in the church?
Let's give the pagans back their bunnies and eggs. While we're at it, let's be rid of Santa Claus, too.