As a young girl growing up in a Sikh home I really had no idea what Easter was all about. In fact, for the longest time I associated Easter with chocolate and throwing up. Yup. Let me explain.
Growing up my mom worked at Eaton’s Department Store. And like most retail establishments after a major holiday, unsold holiday items were sold at a drastically reduced price. One year, my mom came home on the Tuesday after Easter with four large Chocolate Easter Eggs (they were hallow and stood about 12” high and filled with smaller chocolate candies). I remember thinking I had won the lottery! I didn’t even have to go hunting for them like my friends did. Can you imagine…4 feet of chocolate… all for me!!!
“Don’t eat them all at once.” My mother warned.
By Friday I had consumed all four and spent the weekend sick to my stomach. I couldn’t bring myself to eat chocolate for years.
If you asked eight year old Mona, “What does Easter mean to you?” I would have said, “Chocolate and barfing.” I really had no idea what Easter was about. At school we would dip eggs in food colouring and vinegar, and colour pictures of bunnies and flowers. I found myself asking, “But why? What was it all about??”
Perhaps I was told by a kind teacher or a snarky school mate, but I didn’t fully understand the meaning of Easter until I was much older.
Easter is about Christ’s persecution and it is about Christ’s resurrection.
Did you know that back in Jesus’ day crucifixions were a normal practice?
Thousands died by crucifixion, but what made this particular crucification different was the ONE who was crucified, Jesus.
Jesus died on the cross but Jesus rose from the dead. Eyewitnesses talked about it and wrote about it, and people have been talking about it ever since because the resurrection is not what He did; it's who He is.
Why does it matter? Because God, in His love and mercy, did something for us we were incapable of doing for ourselves. In His great love, God became one of us, in Jesus, God in the flesh, born of a virgin.
Why does Jesus being born of a virgin matter?
Because Jesus didn't inherit the sin nature from an earthly father but inherited the divine nature from his Heavenly Father. Therefore, he could be the lamb without blemish or spot or wrinkle.
On the cross when He brutally suffered at the hands of creation, we are told that he looked up to heaven and said, "Father, I did what you sent me to do. It is finished. Into your hands I commit my spirit." thus fulfilling the law Himself and taking on Himself the punishment for the sins of all those who would ever turn and trust in Him.
Scripture tells us that the earth went dark and shook, and everyone who had hoped maybe Jesus was the messiah fell into despair and darkness. They didn't realize it was Friday but Sunday was coming! God would be glorified through the death, as Jesus was raised.
When I realized that that was what Easter was about and not chocolate bunnies, eggs and the negative side effects of over indulging, it changed my world.
One touch from God and it can change your world too!
Last Sunday we celebrated Palm Sunday. Palm Sunday marks the beginning of Holy Week and commemorates the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover. The gospels record the arrival of Jesus riding into the city on a donkey, while the crowds spread their cloaks and palm branches on the street shouting "Hosanna to the Son of David" and "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord”. With excitement they honour him as their long-awaited Messiah and King.
On Sunday we too had the opportunity to wave palm branches…and we had an opportunity, as we look ahead to Maundy Thursday — the day Jesus instituted the Lord’s Supper— to look at and experience communion in a unique and reflective way. If weren’t able to join us, you can hear the teaching here!
Here is what is happening this Holy Week:
On Thursday we gather at Amberlea for a very special Messy Church. Everyone welcome. Dinner is a 6pm. Let Nancy know how many in your family plan to attend. It is going to be a wonderful evening. email@example.com
We also remember Good Friday, the day Jesus died on the cross for our sins. We invite you to join us at 11 a.m. for a powerful, reflective service.
And then, on Sunday we celebrate Resurrection Sunday or Easter Sunday. We will begin with a wonderful Easter breakfast at 9:30 am, an Easter Egg hunt at 10:30 am and then at 11a.m we will celebrate that He is Risen! (He is Risen indeed!)
This is a very important week. Simply put, the most important thing Jesus ever did to rescue our world happened this week - that’s what makes this week “Holy”.
Join us as we reflect and prepare our hearts for the agony of His Passion and the joy of His Resurrection.