Easter Sunday (12 April 2020)

Well, today the Churches are shut and the shops open, but that does not matter. What matters is that Christ is Risen: he is risen indeed. For our faith is not based on the words of the dead, but of the living.

Why is Easter so important to the Church? Simply put, if Jesus had not risen on the third day, he would have just become another long-forgotten person cruelly executed by the Roman empire. But…he rose from the dead never to die again, and to defeat death so that we can live with him for all eternity. And how can we be so sure? Because of the eye witness accounts of the apostles and hundreds of others who saw the resurrected Jesus. They were so convinced that many went on to martyrs deaths for the sake of Christ – sure in the knowledge that they too would be resurrected with Christ. Christ is risen, he is risen indeed!
Neville Jopson (Elder), Grace Bible Church.

There are many who argue that this is rank superstition, but their logic shows much more superstition, for they don’t know history, most of them can’t read the original texts, and they have never considered textual criticism. There are more fragments of the new Testament available to double check the text for accuracy than there are of Aristotle, or Aurelius — and most of those were preserved by the monastics during the invasion of the Middle East by the newly Muslim Arabs (who tended to burn everything).

Easter is not a pagan holiday. That’s atheist nonsense that requires an almost-complete ignorance of literally every foreign language but one. While there is a possible etymological link to the name of an Anglo-Saxon goddess named Eostre for whom there is absolutely no evidence outside of the writings of the venerable, but inventive Bede, but since the Germans use “Easter” too and English is partially derived from German, the word is much more likely linked to the old German word for resurrection, which is Erstehen.

One of the earliest appearances of “Easter” in English is in the Tyndale Bible, which actually refers to Ester. Remember, the conventional accusation about Easter being a pagan holiday concerned Ishtar, an Akkadian goddess of love and war, but that was never a viable explanation because none of the other European languages have any possible etymological link to a pagan holiday. Their Paschae, Pasqua, Pâques, Pascua, etc. all trace back to Passover.

So, the usual suspects dug around the history books and came up with Eostre, who was not a German goddess and for whom there is no evidence in the German linguistic record. But they did posit – or to put more clearly, made up – a nonexistent precursor goddess to a probably-invented goddess, whose nonexistent holiday could theoretically have been coopted by English and German Christians in the Sixteenth Century while celebrating the Erstehen on Paschae.

Needless to say, this makes absolutely no sense to anyone who is capable of understanding the conventional ordering of cause and effect. Note in particular that the first and only known reference to Eostre is in 725 AD, and the first known references to Ester and Passover, both of which are English neologisms popularized, if not necessarily coined by Tyndale, were in 1526 AD, centuries after Paskha (πάσχα) was first celebrated by Christians.

The Collect.

Almighty God, who through thine only-begotten Son Jesus Christ hast overcome death, and opened unto us the gate of everlasting life: We humbly beseech thee, that as by thy special grace preventing us thou dost put into our minds good desires, so by thy continual help we may bring the same to good effect; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen.

Church of England

Acts 10:34-43

34 Opening his mouth, Peter said:

“I most certainly understand now that God is not one to show partiality, 35 but in every nation the man who fears Him and does what is right is welcome to Him. 36 The word which He sent to the sons of Israel, preaching peace through Jesus Christ (He is Lord of all)— 37 you yourselves know the thing which took place throughout all Judea, starting from Galilee, after the baptism which John proclaimed. 38 You know of Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and with power, and how He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him. 39 We are witnesses of all the things He did both in the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They also put Him to death by hanging Him on a cross. 40 God raised Him up on the third day and granted that He become visible, 41 not to all the people, but to witnesses who were chosen beforehand by God, that is, to us who ate and drank with Him after He arose from the dead. 42 And He ordered us to preach to the people, and solemnly to testify that this is the One who has been appointed by God as Judge of the living and the dead. 43 Of Him all the prophets bear witness that through His name everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins.”

There is no partiality. Christ revealed himself not at first to his disciples, who sought him, not his mother, and definitely not to the great and self proclaimed good who crucified him. He was revealed first to Mary Magdalene. For she hung around the Garden, grieving.

John 20:1-18

20 Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene *came early to the tomb, while it *was still dark, and *saw the stone already taken away from the tomb. 2 So she *ran and *came to Simon Peter and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and *said to them, “They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid Him.” 3 So Peter and the other disciple went forth, and they were going to the tomb. 4 The two were running together; and the other disciple ran ahead faster than Peter and came to the tomb first; 5 and stooping and looking in, he *saw the linen wrappings lying there; but he did not go in. 6 And so Simon Peter also *came, following him, and entered the tomb; and he *saw the linen wrappings lying there, 7 and the face-cloth which had been on His head, not lying with the linen wrappings, but rolled up in a place by itself. 8 So the other disciple who had first come to the tomb then also entered, and he saw and believed. 9 For as yet they did not understand the Scripture, that He must rise again from the dead. 10 So the disciples went away again to their own homes.

11 But Mary was standing outside the tomb weeping; and so, as she wept, she stooped and looked into the tomb; 12 and she *saw two angels in white sitting, one at the head and one at the feet, where the body of Jesus had been lying. 13 And they *said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She *said to them, “Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him.” 14 When she had said this, she turned around and *saw Jesus standing there, and did not know that it was Jesus. 15 Jesus *said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” Supposing Him to be the gardener, she *said to Him, “Sir, if you have carried Him away, tell me where you have laid Him, and I will take Him away.” 16 Jesus *said to her, “Mary!” She turned and *said to Him in Hebrew, “Rabboni!” (which means, Teacher). 17 Jesus *said to her, “Stop clinging to Me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, ‘I ascend to My Father and your Father, and My God and your God.’” 18 Mary Magdalene *came, announcing to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord,” and that He had said these things to her.

Christ has risen. He has risen Indeed. In him, this is a new life, and though we live in a season of fear and lockdown, there is hope.