Saturday, 20 March 2010

Preparation for Easter aka Passover, Unleavened Bread and Firstfruits

As we approach Easter, why not take 50 minutes out to see how the Old Testament Festivals prophesy about the death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus, the pouring out of the Spirit, the Second Coming and Judgment and the renewal of all things at the end of the age. I am not exaggerating when I say you'll be amazed at some of the things you learn in here:

In the McDonaldised evangelical churches of the West, if we aren't careful, we can too quickly consider, (as Christmas and Easter people), that our remembrances supersede those of our Israelite forbears. Our pride is misplaced.

Give me five minutes to tell you what the Old Testament Church celebrated and how they celebrated it, and you'll be left under no illusion that we suffer from a lot of spiritual amnesia in comparison.

Before you ask, no I'm not advocating the resurrection of Old Testament law or that all Christians resident in Britain write to Gordon Brown and ask him to introduce a few more public holidays.

And yes, you're right, participation in a festival doesn't necessarily mean we believe it. Moreover, it's easy to get caught up in the trappings of doing a festival rather than pondering its significance, but I still have a gnawing sense that in not marking these things communally, something profound is missing.

As humans, we mark what we value. Tell someone you love them and then say you have no interest in celebrating their birthday or marking your anniversary together and that person would be forgiven for wandering just what kind of love you're bringing to the table.

The Old Testament Church had festivals for marking all that we mark and on top of that they marked Pentecost, Judgment and the Renewal of Creation, and yet in the modern church we seem to have lost sight of significantly marking these equally cataclysmic events (and watered down the ones we have kept).

On a pragmatic level, this is understandable. Not least by virtue of the fact that there's nothing jocular about handing a card to someone, especially a non Christian friend, which reads Happy Judgment Day!

Yet, if we don't mark these things somehow, at least in household of faith, we show that we don't value them and if we don't value them, we won't remember them because life is just too busy. The consequences of this are at best regrettable and at worst perilous!

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