The Eighth Day

There is a Creation.  And there is also a New Creation. God created the universe in 6 days and on the 7th, He rested.  His other stupendous work was when the Second Person of the Trinity became incarnate and took the evils and sufferings of His creation into Himself, dying to atone for them, and rising again.  His resurrection took place on the day after the Sabbath, an 8th day.

The early Church made much of this symbolism.  Sunday was considered not the first day of the week but the 8th day.  Baptismal fonts were octagonal.  Now that Christ has risen from the dead, we live in the age of the New Creation, the 8th day.  After the jump, an excerpt from an essay by Dale Coulter on the Christian vs. the secular view of progress, drawing on the 8th day. [Read more…]

How the date for Easter is calculated

You may well be wondering, why is Easter so late this year?  After the jump, an excerpt and a link to an interesting article about how the date for Easter is calculated.  It also demonstrates once again the antiquity of the celebration of Christ’s resurrection, its ties to the Jewish passover, and its lack of connection to any pagan festivals. [Read more…]

On the night when he was betrayed

We commemorate quite a lot of things on Maundy Thursday.  Jesus washed His disciple’s feet, giving them–and us–the “mandate”  (maundate; hence, “Maundy”) to love one another.  Then He gave them His body and His blood in bread and wine, thereby making clear the meaning of what was about to happen (“this is my body given for you”; “this is my blood poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins”), ensuring that His followers would continue on as a Church (“do this in remembrance of me”), establishing His continual presence with them (“this is my body. . .my blood), and instituting the means by which His followers are incorporated with Him and receive the promise of the Gospel (“given for you”).  Later, Jesus prays for His Church, for His disciples and for those in the future who will believe because of their testimony–that is to say, us.   Then Judas betrays Him, He is arrested, arraigned before Herod, and Peter denies Him.  And the rest unfolds.

The events of Maundy Thursday are all for the benefit of His followers–washing their feet, exhorting them to love each other, giving them His body and blood in an ongoing sacrament, praying for them–whereupon one of those followers betrays Him, another denies Him, and the rest run away. [Read more…]

People who just come to church on Easter

Church attendance is down, but lots of people–including those who don’t come the rest of the year–still go to church on Easter, as well as Christmas.  The tendency is sometimes to look down on “Christmas/Easter Christians.”  But the fact is, on these two days of the year, they show up.  Why is that?

You pastors, how do you handle this phenomenon?  (Do you take the opportunity to upbraid them for not coming the rest of the year?  I have heard that!  Do you do anything different?)  After the jump, an interesting discussion on the topic from the Barna people. [Read more…]

Easter did NOT come from a pagan holiday

You’re probably already hearing the old canards about Easter and its customs being based in pagan festivals.  It’s just not true!  After the jump, links to two documented accounts from Pastor Joseph Abrahamson that gives the historical background and churchly contexts of the celebration of Christ’s Resurrection. [Read more…]

What the Bible is all about

On Sunday we read the entire Passion narrative from Matthew 26-27.  Read what our pastor said about it in a sermon that contains the “God  who didn’t act like a God” bit that I blogged about yesterday.  From Rev. James Douthwaite, St. Athanasius Lutheran Church: Palm / Passion Sunday Sermon:

You just heard the story that all the Bible is about. This is not just part of the story, this is what it’s all about. Take this story out and the Bible is just another holy book – teaching us what to do and how to be good. But with this story, the Bible becomes a wholly different book, and everything in it gains new meaning. Everything in the Bible must be understood through the lens of this story, or not be understood at all. [Read more…]