How much we take for granted. Every year the Easter season comes around with Palm Sunday, followed by Good Friday, followed by Easter Sunday. And each Easter has the sunrise service, new bonnets, Easter eggs, and Easter Bunnies. I’ll never forget the Sunday morning we were sitting having brunch in a hotel, and in the front door bounds this six-foot rabbit with a basket full of colored eggs in his hand. He made his way around the restaurant, giving out the eggs to the little children, who were all abuzz. I hope we all realize that the First Christians didn’t do anything like that.
The connection of the sunrise service isn’t hard. After all, the women were at the tomb of Jesus at the crack of dawn, only to find the stone rolled away and the body of Jesus gone. Boy, that is such an important moment to all of us who are Christians. It has been so long since I went to a sunrise service that I forget what happens. It probably varies depending on who is doing the service. But, you know, you don’t have to feel guilty about sleeping in and not going to a sunrise service. The First Christians didn’t have a sunrise service as far as we can tell.
But a stranger who came upon our customs would surely have some questions to ask. What, for example, do the rabbits and eggs have to do with the resurrection of Jesus? And, for that matter, what does the name
Easter have to do with it? It is really interesting if you take the point of view of an uninformed observer and look at what the First Christians actually did, you run into some fascinating questions. Take Palm Sunday as an example. There are far too many variables to be certain that the events of that day took place on a Sunday at all. Let’s take a look at the scripture that forms the basis of that assumption in John, chapter 12.