Not Giving up Anything for Lent, the Pagan Roots of Easter, and Other Holy Week Thoughts

Here is a collection of thoughts I’ve had on Holy Week.

  • I have still never given anything up for Lent. However, I did enjoy the Mardi Gras special at Courthouse Donuts. Laissez les bons temps rouler!
  • I’ve always had trouble picking out something to give up for Lent. If I need to give something up, I give it up. If I don’t need to give it up, I really don’t want to. But maybe that’s the point!
  • On the other hand, I’ve embraced Holy Week this year in a way that I haven’t in the past. I’ve done readings at home, a Seder at church, and a Good Friday service in Gatlinburg. Sunday, of course, will be our Easter worship service.
  • Our family has read slowly through Matthew 26–27 this week. Very powerful. Highly recommended.
  • Think of Jesus for a minute without knowing that He is the Messiah. The fact that Jesus says, in essence, that from now on the Passover is all about Him is really quite astonishing.
  • The thief on the cross exercised incredible faith when he looked at the bleeding, dying, suffering Jesus and said, “Remember me when you come into your kingdom.”
  • I don’t want to condemn anyone who does, but I personally don’t find it an aid to faith to watch an actor play Jesus. I prefer my own thoughts on the Scripture.
  • When you read “My God, My God, why have you forsaken Me?” with the background of Jesus’ intimate relationship with the Father throughout His time on earth, beginning with going to the temple at age 12, it gives even greater profundity to some of the most profound words ever spoken.
  • Can you feel the anticipation of Easter in your house? I can in mine. Ever since there has been a spring and humans to reflect upon it, humans have experienced that same anticipation because they held celebrations of the wonder of spring.
  • “Pagan” has certain connotations today, but it really means everybody else besides the Jews who haven’t heard the Gospel of Christ. This includes most of the ancestors of those who are reading this.
  • The glory of spring demands awe, wonder, and celebration. There is something right about the pagans celebrating it, even if I can’t agree with all that they did to celebrate it.
  • Christians have taken the ancient spring celebration and centered it around the greatest new life event since creation itself: the resurrection of Jesus and the beginning of the new creation.
  • Speaking of spring, I love seeing all the flowers in the Southern spring. I was surprised to see my azalea bush do so well.

  • In Matthew’s Gospel, the first words of Jesus after the resurrection are “Do not be afraid.” Good words for people who live much of their lives based on irrational fears or not knowing how to live courageously in the face of rational ones.

If you made it through this whole list, I wish you an especially happy Easter!