How the Early Church Celebrated Easter

I’m currently reading The Story of Christianity (Revised and Updated Edition), by Justo L. Gonzalez (HarperOne, 2010). I forgot how much I enjoy church history! As I read about the Early Church, I’m reminded of the importance they placed on Easter. The Jews gathered for worship on the Sabbath Day (Saturday), in honor of the day God rested after creation. But after Jesus’ resurrection, the Christians gathered for worship on the first day of the week (Sunday), in honor of Christ’s resurrection. And the tradition has continued for most Followers of Christ. Gonzalez observes the main purpose of this Sunday gathering was to celebrate the resurrection of our Lord. And the primary way they did that was through the celebration of the Lord’s Supper. And because these early Communion services focused on the resurrection of Jesus, they were joyful occasions, not the somber Lord’s Supper services that many have grown up with. Actually, it was only after the Protestant Reformation of the Sixteenth Century that many churches began to focus their worship service on the preaching of the Word over Communion. I wanted to share this with you as we begin our Easter celebration. Easter is the moment we’ve been waiting for, the climax of the Christian year. So, how can we make it the grand celebration it’s supposed to be? N. T. Wright, in his book, Surprised by Hope (HarperOne, 2008), suggests that during the season of Easter, we pull out all the stops. Really celebrate. Also add new things to our lives as we celebrate new life in Christ. Practice the spiritual discipline of celebration. Jesus has risen! New life has begun. For this reason, I rejoice that we are conducting Alpha this Easter season. A great way to celebrate the resurrection of our Lord as we break bread together and become more devoted students of Christ. He has risen! . . .

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2 thoughts on “How the Early Church Celebrated Easter

  1. Thank you, Leon. Your blog makes a great point. And when you realize that the early church was largely Jewish, the transition from Saturday to Sunday as the day of worship becomes dramatically significant.

    • Walt,
      Thank you kindly for the reply. Sorry for the delayed response. It’s really good to hear from you again. I trust you’re enjoying spring in the Fraser Valley. Happy Easter!
      –Leon

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