I was researching Easter and, surprisingly, found that there is no biblical word that marks the annual celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus. Weird, right? Especially since Easter is such a pivotal day in the Christian calendar. Christians historically celebrated Jesus’ resurrection weekly (on Sundays), but the annual celebration of Easter is actually associated with the March Equinox, and gets its name from the Pagan Anglo-Saxon goddess Eostre who heralds dawn, spring, and fertility. Strange but true LOL. 🤷♂️
But I did some digging, and found that a lot of languages use for Easter some derivative of the Greek and Latin word “Pascha,” which references the Passover feast of Exodus 12. Some languages (including Chinese and Korean) use a word for Easter that translates as “Resurrection” or “Resurrection Festival,” which makes a lot of sense.
The most interesting word for Easter I came across is the Georgian word “Húsvét,” meaning “Rising.”
And I love that translation of Easter: The Rising.
Jesus Rising from the grave to conquer sin and death, thereby setting humanity free from its imperfections. The Son of God Rising from the dead to usher humanity once and for all into a right relationship with God, our Creator. The metaphorical sun Rising to bring a brand new day to a humanity once clothed in the darkness of its errant independence.
On Easter, we celebrate a Rising that was planned in eternity past by a God who is present with us in this very moment – a God who is drawing us to Himself for an eternity future of Love and Belonging. A Rising where the Father welcomes home His prodigal kids, overwhelming any and all wrong choices we might have made:
“‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ (The story of the Prodigal Son, Luke 15:22-24 NIV)
This is our celebration, our Rising. This is our Joy, our Resurrection Festival. This is our Easter, our coming of Dawn, of Spring, of New Life.
The Cross cannot keep our God down. The chains of sin and death cannot hold humanity any longer. The gates of Hell cannot contain the perfect and perfecting Love of a God who made Himself a man, who submitted Himself to one of humanity’s cruelest punishments, who took on humanity’s sin and shame and brokenness and burden, and then, through His Rising, declared for the rest of time that there need. not. be. distance. between. humanity. and. its. Creator. any. longer.
We are embraced, we are made right, we are perfected, we are saved from anything that would keep us from our loving Father – a Father who sees us, who is filled with compassion, who runs for us, who throws His arms around us, and who kisses us profusely (Luke 15:20).
Can you just picture the God of the Universe celebrating today by slapping big wet kisses on us, His kids?!? How wonderful! How hilarious! How awkward! How undignified! How improper! Unashamed PDA for all of humanity from the Creator of Heaven and Earth! Funny… and also the truth about how He feels about us!!
The songwriter John Mark McMillan writes about it this way: “So heaven meets earth like a sloppy wet kiss / and my heart turns violently inside of my chest / I don’t have time to maintain these regrets when I think about the way / that He loves us.”
Brennan Manning writes: “[Christianity] is not essentially a philosophy of love but a love affair; it is not keeping rules with clenched fists but receiving a gift with open hands” (The Ragamuffin Gospel).
All because of the Rising. All because of the Resurrection. All because of the Dawn, the Spring, the New Life. All because of God’s perfect and perfecting Love for us, His kids. A Love affair.
Today we celebrate Easter. We celebrate the Rising, the Resurrection, the New Life, the fresh Embrace, the sloppy wet Kiss, the Love affair.
He is risen. He is risen, indeed.