Larry Ray Hafley
Pageants and parades, bunnies and bonnets, sunrise services and special shows—you may expect to see this and much more this time of year. Churches will be vying with one another to see which one can put on the most ostentatious display for Easter Sunday. Sadly, even some churches of Christ will enter the competition by playing up to a human tradition (Matt. 15:8, 9).
Easter Sunday, like Ash Wednesday, Palm Sunday, and the whole spectacle of Lent, is of man. It is not of God. It is not authorized in the New Testament (Matt. 28:20; 2 Thess. 2:15; 2 Jn. 9). In the Bible, there is no annual day set aside to remember the resurrection of Christ. The apostles never advocated Easter Sunday. The first century churches never celebrated it. New Testament Christians never commemorated it. If you doubt those statements, send us passages of Scripture which show that we are wrong, and we will apologize for our remarks.
Therefore, since Easter is not a part of New Testament religion, we can have no part in its observance (1 Cor. 4:6; 2 Thess. 2:15; 2 Tim. 1:13).
However, let us not be puffed up by our correctness in doctrine and worship. Sunday is the Lord’s day, the first day of the week. As we did last week, and as we shall do the week following, Lord willing, we must humbly remember our Savior’s death this day as he has authorized (Acts 20:7; 1 Cor. 10:16, 17; 11:24-26). Let us not be lifted up with pride and neglect pure worship in spirit and in truth. It is sometimes easier to condemn the traditions of men than it is to keep the true traditions of God. Let us never fall into that trap.
As individuals, we may otherwise spend the day as we would choose to spend any other day. Christians may look for the groundhog’s shadow on February 2nd. They may play an April Fool’s joke on April 1st. They may shoot off a firecracker on July 4th. They may enjoy a turkey dinner at Thanksgiving. They may wear a new outfit on “Easter Sunday” and spend the day with their children eating chocolate rabbits. It is up to them. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind regarding things of that nature.
Meanwhile, in love for the Christ who “was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification,” let us honor and serve him according to his will today and every day (Rom. 4:25).