Archive for the ‘Pascha’ Tag

Pascha   4 comments

This week’s blog hop topic is, appropriately, Easter.


Custom Blog:

An InLinkz Link-up

Code for Link:

get the InLinkz code

get the InLinkz code

Growing up in the very secular state of Alaska in an unchurched family, I don’t have a lot of family traditions associated with Easter. So when I look at Easter it is from an adult’s perspective. My husband was raised in a Catholic home (Boston Irish Catholic), so he came with traditions that changed when he became a born-again Christian. Not too surprisingly, we have had to examine Easter (and other church holidays) in light of our salvation.

Contrary to popular belief, the Emperor Constantine did not have a whole lot to do with Easter. There was a 19th century book Two Babylons: Papal Worship Proved to be the Worship of Nimrod and his Wife by a virulent anti-Catholic by the name of Bishop Alexander Hislop that is the source of many of the common allegations of pagan influences in early Christianity. Hislop’s book seems really authoritative, until you check out the source documents for his footnotes and realize he’s making a lot of vague “This seems similar” arguments. I’m not focused on that. Look for The Babylon Connection by Ralph Woodrow for a critical analysis of Hislop’s book.

Image result for image of lords supperConstantine’s relationship with Easter (which was called Pascha in his time) was pretty brief and tenuous. He convened and opened the Council of Nicaea and then … well, he wasn’t involved in the actual council itself. Christian bishops from around the Christian realm at the time ran the conference and were the ones who made the major decisions. Constantine may have provided lodging and snacks. It’s actually pretty likely that Constantine himself was not a Christian in  the Biblical sense. He saw Christianity as a means of uniting his empire and he really didn’t care what the council produced so long as the bishops came to some agreement and issued some sort of proclamation to assure Christian unity. In fact, Constantine was not baptized until he was on his death bed and then he was baptized by his cousin, an Arian bishop who denied the dual nature of Jesus.

Like many issues of the early churches, Easter existed in glorious anarchy (I definitely would have approved). Some churches celebrated “Pascha” on a Sunday while some churches in Asia Minor celebrated Passover in the Jewish manner, on the first full moon of spring, regardless of the day of the week. This bothered the control freaks among the bishops, so the Council of Nicaea resolved this issue by establishing a common Sunday celebration of Easter and the eastern churches apparently agreed to adopt this custom.

The cultural baggage of Easter eggs and rabbits are indeed fertility symbols that worked their way into Christianity by way of folklore customs associated with pagan seasonal observances.  They came from Germanic and Celtic traditions and not Babylon, but either way I don’t think they have a place in church celebrations and I’ve never gone to a church where these were a big deal. Easter egg hunts aside, our worship is focused on the Bible. Even the name “Easter” appears to have come from Celtic Christians … the first mention of “Easter” was by St. Bede, who recorded that the British Celt called the holiday this and that he thought it was related to one of their former pagan holidays celebrated around the same time. And that’s the history.

Pascha (otherwise known as Easter) is the feast of the Lord’s resurrection and it is THE most ancient observance in Christianity. In non-English speaking Christian cultures outside of Europe, the holiday of Easter is called by some variation of Pascha, which is the New Testament Greek equivalent of the Hebrew word pesach, meaning Passover. This is consistent with ancient Christian practice. The Lord’s Supper, which in my church is observed on Good Friday, was the only ritual the early church seems to have celebrated regularly. Ignatius, writing in the late-1st century or early-2nd century identified all Sunday worship as very similar to a Pascha celebration. Early Christians commemorated the Lord’s resurrection weekly with the Lord’s supper, in keeping with Paul’s teachings.

For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night in which he was betrayed took bread, and after he had given thanks he broke it and said, This is my body, which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way, he also took the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, every time you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For every time you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes1 Corinthians 11:23-26

For us at University Baptist Church, the Lord’s Supper is observed about quarterly. We could do it weekly, but there is a strong feeling that weekly observance makes it into a rote ritual rather than something we think about and prepare for. Although my church does not observe Lent, I do sort of. Brad does. He usually restarts his workout and stops drinking sodas in preparation for the summer’s active season. I use the time to consider what my sins might have been and who might have a grievance against me for my past behavior. If I’ve had some time, I will attempt to make amends. When I approach the Lord’s Supper, I do not want to be unworthy, but the fact is any baptized person who claims to be a Christian can take the Lord’s Supper at my church. Nobody asks for proof that you are a Christian or that you’ve been baptized. We’re on the honor system.

Image result for image of lords supperFor me, this is a very spiritual time, the week leading up to Easter/Pascha. I spend time with God in seeking His forgiveness and guidance. And when I come to the Lord’s Supper service, I know that I’ve at least been honest with myself about my failings before God. We serve these little crackers of unleavened bread, though I have been to a church where the pastor (who liked to cook) would make unleavened bread. The unleavened bread is accompanied by grape juice, which gets around the whole sobriety issue for Brad (yet another reason he’s no longer a Catholic — and, yes, we know there are stigmatized ways around the Catholic wine). When we eat the bread, I try to remain focused on Jesus on the cross, His sacrifice for me. There have been times when I’ve heard the sound of hammers in my head. I don’t cry easily, but there have been times when I’ve so affected by His willing sacrifice on my behalf that I have wept. When we drink the juice, I try to imagine the weight of sin lifted from me by His forgiveness.

Good Friday service is usually a time for reflection and quietly filing out to go home. We remember that WE killed Jesus. The angel of death may be passing over us, but not because we deserve forgiveness, but because Jesus voluntarily gave His life to take on our sin. It’s His blood on the doorpost.

And then everyone shows up in bright florals on Resurrection Sunday, celebrating that He is risen and we are forgiven. This is appropriate because Jesus is no longer on the cross. He has risen and we should not continue to mourn by His grave.

His is risen! Rejoice.

Posted March 28, 2016 by aurorawatcherak in Blog Hop

Tagged with , , , , , ,

When the Least Become First   Leave a comment

Mary Magdalene was a woman of ill repute. The Bible doesn’t tell us that she was a prostitute. That was a pope in the 7th century who laid that on her. But she was possessed by seven demons before she met Jesus. I suspect she did some things that she wasn’t proud of later. And yet Mary was the one Jesus  chose to be the first witness to His resurrection — in essence the first Christian.

On the morning of the third day, the women went to the tomb to prepare Jesus’ body. They were mourning. They were probably afraid. Their men were in hiding. Only the women were brave. And when they got to the tomb, they found the guard that had surrounded the tomb gone and the stone that blocked the door thrown halfway across the garden. They ran to the men because they didn’t know what else to do.

John and Peter ran to the tomb. John ran faster. They both saw that Jesus was gone, but they didn’t understand. He’d told them He’d rise after three days, but they hadn’t understood. They went back home, scared and perplexed.

Mary, however, looked into the tomb and saw two angels sitting where Jesus’ body had been. They said “Why are you looking here? He’s not here.”

I think it’s odd that she wasn’t afraid of the angels or that she didn’t demand to know who they were. Except, this woman recognized angels. Why? Because she’d been demon possessed and the only difference between an angel and a demon is that one follows God and the other follows Satan. She knew what she was seeing, I think.

And, then she turned from the tomb and there was a man there who asked “Why are you sad?”

“Because they have taken my Lord and I do not know where,” she answered.

“Mary, don’t you know Me?”

Of course, she didn’t know Him. She expected Him to be dead. She was crying too  Her eyesight was blurred and her heart was in a very dark place. Of course she didn’t recognize Him.

Until that moment. And then recognition dawned, a light came on, and the whole of the universe was an entirely different place than it had been one second before.

Possible Site of Christ's Tomb by dufasnoop

He is Risen! by Brian A Petersen

Valentine But

Books: fiction and poetry

Faith Reason And Grace

Inside Life's Edges

Elliot's Blog

Generally Christian Book Reviews

The Libertarian Ideal

Voice, Exit and Post-Libertarianism


Social trends, economics, health and other depressing topics!

My Corner

I write to entertain and inspire.

The Return of the Modern Philosopher

Deep Thoughts from the Shallow End of the Pool

Steven Smith

The website of British steampunk and short story author


a voracious reader. | a book blogger.


adventure, art, nature, travel, photography, wildlife - animals, and funny stuff


The Peaceful Revolution Liberate Main Street


What could possibly go wrong?

%d bloggers like this: