What is Easter all about?
Here the Bishop of Huntingdon, the Rt Revd David Thomson, looks at some of the history, fact and faith behind Christianity’s most important festival.
Why does Easter’s date move around? The first Easter fell at the time of the Jewish Passover, which is a full moon festival. Easter’s date still follows that full moon.
Couldn’t we fix it? The government could make any day it liked a Bank Holiday, but changing the date of the religious festival would need all the churches to agree – don’t hold your breath. And that link with the Passover is pretty important too.
Why “Good” Friday? “Good” used to mean “holy” as well. And in Old English “good” and “God” were very similar words. So “Holy Friday” and “God Friday” if you like. Oh, and if that’s the day Jesus saved us from our sins on the Cross then, despite all the suffering, it’s Good News, isn’t it?
People don’t come alive again like that. It’s not scientific. Good point. And we’re not just talking about resuscitation here. He was really dead – the Romans knew their stuff. But science deals only with what is normal and repeatable. You can’t run this experiment again. So, one way or the other, it’s an act of faith to say what did or didn’t happen.
Christians wrote the Gospels – and much later: so we can’t take them seriously. OK. But they claim to be eye-witness accounts. And accounts like that would have been passed on carefully. And they were in circulation while there still plenty of people around to say: “It didn’t happen like that.” But they didn’t. So perhaps the evidence isn’t that weak after all.
But don’t they contradict each other? Sometimes: but listen the eye-witnesses at a trial today … perhaps total agreement would be more suspicious?
So? Make up your own mind. This is about freedom not force-feeding. Enjoy!<!--[endif]-->-->