Since moving to Alaska 5 years ago Easter week has been a different experience for me. You see, I grew up in a Church where Easter was a really big deal. People dressed up for Easter (I often got new clothes), we had special programs with special music and attendance that day was the highest of the year.
Later, I would enter the preaching ministry and the Easter experience was much the same. It was still a highlight in the Christian calendar. Then, I moved to Alaska and Easter is not a very big deal at all. In fact, this week I expect attendance to be right on average and I only have a special song and video to enhance the program. Most people will not purchase new clothes for the day and only a couple will dress up. Easter is just like every other Sunday in the year.
I think this is true in Alaska for a couple reasons. First, Easter is still part of winter here. Spring is coming but several families will still be down below where it is warm. Second, some people will travel to see their families who live outside of Alaska for Easter (or somewhere else in the state). Third, the jobs here in Homer are unique. People are off fishing or working up on the north slope or doing one of a dozen things that do not stop for any holiday let alone Easter.
I say all this because over the last few years I have had to adjust my thinking about Easter. At first I was upset, then I was disappointed, next I tried hard to change it and finally I am beginning to accept it. Here is why I have slowly become okay with Easter not being a very big holiday.
1. No where in scripture are we told to have a holiday for the resurrection of Jesus. No where! The early Church decided to meet on the first day of the week, we believe, because that was the day of the week Christ was resurrected. If that is true (and I think it is) then we celebrate the resurrection of Christ every time we meet on Sunday.
2. I am part of a group of Churches that take communion every week. The early Church broke bread when they were together to remember the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross AND that the resurrection demonstrates that God accepted that as payment for my sin. Every week we remember the cross and the resurrection of Jesus at the table.
3. Every week we sing songs about a victorious, risen Lord. Reading through many of the songs we sing (both chorus’ and hymns) I find a line about the cross and often a statement about his resurrection.
Here is my point. I have had to re-learn that EVERY WEEK we celebrate the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus – not just once a year. For many people Easter is not a special day, but every Sunday is … and I am okay with that.