While we sit munching on chocolate eggs in the sunshine surrounded by pretty daffodils, all we can think about is the long Easter weekend ahead. But it’s worth reminding ourselves why we enjoy these holidays, so we caught up with Rehana Nurmahi from Christian Union to ask more about the origins of this springtime religious tradition.

“Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen!”

– Luke 24:6

Easter is celebrated by Christians every year to symbolise the resurrection of Christ Jesus. It is single-handedly the most important date in the Christian calendar, and a cornerstone of the faith. It’s a symbol of new life and of the freedom that we believe that we have in Jesus Christ- this freedom coming from what Jesus’ death and resurrection mean.

We as Christians believe that Jesus, who was the perfect man- fully God, yet fully human- sacrificed himself as penance for the sin of all humankind. Through his death, we no longer have to face punishment whenever we do something wrong (which is a lot), because Jesus paid the ultimate price on the cross. That in itself would be good enough news (hence why it’s called Good Friday), but Easter Sunday transforms this news from good, to the best possible thing we could hear. Easter Sunday saw Jesus coming back to life, granting us eternal life through him, and showing that we are loved by God so much, that we are practically royalty.

It’s something that is ridiculously hard to get your head around, and even those who have been Christians for years struggle with it. However, popular culture has shown this in ways that make it easier to quantify: for example, C.S Lewis’ classic tale, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. Aslan sacrifices himself in the place of Edmund, and when he comes back to life, Edmund and his siblings are granted a place on the throne, as kings and queens of Narnia. This is a simplified version from a children’s book, but it is essentially what Christians believe about what Jesus’ sacrifice means for us.

Over the years, Easter Sunday has been celebrated differently by different Christians. For me, Easter Sunday always looked like breakfast with the family, then heading to church for the morning service. At the church I grew up in, Easter would always be a baptism service; people showing their new life in Christ (granted at Easter), and the service would always be followed with a meal together at the church. The afternoon and evening often see us going for a nice walk in the New Forest. The fact that Easter is a symbol of new life would be emphasised by spending time in nature at this time of year.

I spoke to a few other members of SUCU to see how they celebrated Easter weekend:

“I go to our dawn service for worship by the sea. Then we all go back to our church to have tea and toast. Our youth always end up in McDonald’s singing worship songs whilst eating a McDonald’s breakfast. Then we all head to church and lead the two morning services, which are fab. I go home, then as a family we have an Easter egg hunt, have our lamb dinner and usually either paint eggs to roll down a hill during an afternoon walk or just chill if it’s bad weather!”

“I go to church pretty much like any other Sunday, except the service is specifically about Easter. Then as soon as it has finished, my family drives to wherever we’re going for our holiday, usually a few hours’ drive away. We’ve generally arrived by about 4pm and spend the rest of the afternoon and evening unpacking the car and then opening (and eating) chocolate Easter presents”

“On Good Friday I always go to an outside church service by the village pond. The local churches, of different denominations, gather together to celebrate what’s truly important: the crucifixion (and pre-emptively the resurrection!) of Christ. We then go and spend some time together over coffee and hot cross buns aplenty. It’s such a unique and wonderful service, and it’s lovely to know that despite some differences, our churches are united in one God. We just have to hope it doesn’t rain!

Due to Easter falling in the break, Christian Union don’t really have any Easter specific events scheduled. We will however, be back in full swing after the break with all our usual events which you can find out about on our website. As a society, we exist to show God’s love and share the good news we have found in Jesus with others. If you’d like to know more, you can find us on Facebook or email our society president. We’d love to see you soon.

Have a great Easter!

I took this photo at Highfield Church back in February, when Christian Union hosted a series of talks discussing ‘is there more to life?’

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