Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Easter - Bunnies pooping chocolate eggs?

Why do we celebrate Easter? Is it about bunnies pooping out chocolate eggs? Or is it really something more?
I was reading that in ancient times the egg represented new life, a re-birth of sorts in spring festivals of long ago. Don't know how the bunny got involved? If you find out, let me know.
Spring is a time of re-birth, the death of winter awakens in the spring.
Sunday morning I wondered why I did not feel awakened, alive and refreshed. You see I was up four times during the night to let the dog out. Angel had an upset tummy and I resented the fact that I was the only one in our family who heard her whining. As I grumbled my way back into bed for the last time at 5:53am, I thought of how irritated and resentful I felt towards the dog and my family for the lack of sleep.
"You have more than me!" I awoke at 7:45am to the melodious Easter melody of children fighting, as to, whom had more pooped out chocolate than the other.
"Is this what Easter is all about? Is it about the greed of how many candies I have?" At that moment, in my grumpy state, I hated the Easter bunny. I also realized, that maybe I didn't do such a good job teaching my children what Easter is all about. This is my humble attempt to teach you, my girls.

Easter is about being saved. A re-birth, an awakening.

"You are valuable just because you exist. Not because of what you do or what you have done, but simply because you are. Just think about the way Jesus honours you... and smile." Max Lucado

A seed dies in the fall and winter...

... only to grow into a beautiful flower in the spring and summer.

So, what does all this have to do with us, here and now? Why do we need to be saved? Why did Jesus die over 2000 years ago for us to be saved?
If we need to be saved or go through a process of re-birth, that must mean there's death somewhere in our lives. Maybe not externally but internally.

"I'm a good person... I try to live a good life... I don't murder... I try not to lie... I don't cheat anyone... I have never committed adultery... I don't sin... I never fight with my sister... What are you talking about?"
Sin, it's such a religious word. I'm with you there... I'm the first to roll my eyes at religious words. You know the ones; Sin, Salvation, Atonement and Resurrection. Those words have given me the willies in the past, only because I didn't really understand what those words meant.  I've done a little investigating and I've been looking into the history of what these words meant in their original Hebrew and Greek words.

Did you know that the word atonement was made up in 1526 by the English writer William Tyndale when he was translating the New Testament into English. There was no English word to replace the old Greek word of katallage (kat-al-lag-ay) which means restoration to the divine or reconciliation. So William made up AT-ONE-MENT.
So why do we need to be restored or reconciled? Sin.
So what's sin? I looked it up in Strong's Concordance. You know there are 11 Hebrew words for sin? The two most popular words used in the Old Testament are chattaah (khat-taw-aw) which means an offense and chata (khaw-taw) which means to miss, lead astray or offend. The Greek words in the New Testament are hamatia (ham-ar-tee-ah) which means missing the mark or a concrete wrongdoing and hamartano (ham-ar-tan-o) which means miss the mark (not share in the prize), and offend.
So what have we been doing wrong, to offend God?  Alister E. McGrath says  in his book, 'Theology: The Basics'.

"What is sin? Although in everyday language the word "sin" means something like "a moral failing" or  "an immoral act," the term has a more precise theological meaning. The fundamental sense of "sin" is something that separates humanity from God." 

I like how he breaks "sin" down into these 6 categories: Alienation, Captivity, Guilt, Condemnation, Illness and Being lost. Let's take a closer look?

1) Alienation - Isolation, a loneliness of not fitting in or belonging. I know I have felt this many times in the coarse of my life. Have you felt alienated?
2) Captivity - Addiction to drugs, alcohol, food, T.V, junk food, horses, work, fear or anything that takes precedence over the people that really matter in your life. Fear has controlled me too many times in my life and worrying about what other people think of me has held me captive. How about you?
3) Guilt - I think every human has felt guilt at one time or another. An unkind word spoken through gossip? or irritation and anger? A lie. A fight over chocolate poop? Have you ever felt guilt?
4) Condemnation - Have you ever felt judged? People looking down their noses at you because you did something they didn't approve? Their way doesn't necessarily mean your way was wrong... just wrong in their eyes. Have you ever been the one to judge someone? Looking down your nose and disapproving an action? Guilty as charged... I have judged. How about you?
5) Illness - I have let stress and fear make me ill. How about you?
6) Being lost - I have been so confused, not knowing what to do, what to believe, and who to trust. I have been hurt because I've trusted the wrong people with my deepest feelings. Because of this confusion, I chose isolation in the past and that brings us back to #1 - Alienation.

If you have said yes to just one of the above, you have been separate from God. The above can also separate us from one and other. Don't feel bad for too long though... you see... to go along with the religious word of "sin" there's another religious word to counter it, "salvation". Now, before you get your knickers in a knot, lets take a look at what this word means.
The 3 most popular Hebrew words used in the Old Testament are:
1) Yshuwah (yesh-oo-aw) - something saved, deliverance, help.
2) Yesha (yay-shah) - liberty, deliverance, saving.
3) Tshuwah (tesh-oo-aw) - rescue, deliverance, help, victory.

I don't know if it's just me, but do the Hebrew words for deliverance look very close to the Hebrew words for God (Yahweh and Yhovah)? Could the root words for God mean deliverer, rescuer, helper? Certainly is something to look into?

"So how does this connection between sin and salvation show itself in the person of Jesus Christ, as saviour of humanity? .... Salvation is the breaking down of the barrier of separation between humanity and God..." Alister E. McGrath

Sin is death (like the seeds in winter), Salvation is a re-birth (like the flowers in spring), it means reconciliation for the alienated, liberation for the captive, forgiveness for the guilty, vindication for the condemned, healing for the ill and being found for the lost. God wants us to have a healthy relationship with each other as well and with him. That's why he came here 2000 years ago. That's why he died on a cross and 3 days later he rose again. He defeated death (or sin), and He did it to save his creation from alienation, captivity, guilt, condemnation, illness and being lost.

God has done His part... now we have to do ours...

Just believe it!

Thanks to:
- Garborg's "Light for the path" flip calendar - copyright 2001for the Max Lucado quote.
- Hard Rock Hide Out: Image of Easter bunny slipper.
Sunflower seeds Image: http://ga-soft.ru/indigo?5
- Alister E. McGrath "Theology: the basics" - copyright 2012 Blackwell Publishers.
- James Strong "The New Strong's Expanded Exhaustive Concordance" - copyright 2010 Thomas Nelson Publishers

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