Articles

Published on March 25th, 2016 | by Jaquelle Crowe

The Risk We Face at Easter


Last year Kevin DeYoung wrote this:

“We must be careful: with Holy Week there is the risk of sentimentalism swallowing up substance.”

We’re nearing the end of what has traditionally been called Holy Week. It’s the week leading up to the formal recognition and celebration of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ on Good Friday and Easter.

But there is a danger in this week, one that too many of us face. DeYoung knows this.

It is the risk of sentimentalism.

Easter makes us feel really nice, doesn’t it?

We’re wrapped in warm and fuzzies, singing all the happiest hymns, hearing that uplifting message, usually seeing a full sanctuary, and meeting toddlers in Easter bonnets.

And we can’t forget the joy of family breakfasts, brunches, ham or lamb dinners, the Easter greeting cards, and all those trending pictures of bunnies and kittens in spring fields.

Who wouldn’t be happy at Easter?

It’s true; we love Easter. It’s a nice holiday, but, sadly, many of our perceptions and beliefs about it have been shaped by our traditions. And traditions breed sentimentality.

“We must be careful,” warns DeYoung.

He’s right. This is not the week of good feelings and Kinder Surprises; it is a week for a celebration of the solemn and the life-changing.

Sometimes I can get so focused on the routine of it that I forget this is a week to remind me of great wrath and terrible beauty and God the Son killed and then made alive.

That’s marvelous! It’s miraculous!

Yet in a sense, this week should be just like every other week, seven days of worshiping Jesus and celebrating the gospel. This occurrence shouldn’t be unusual. Still, we can make Easter special, as long as it’s about the gospel, not feelings (no matter how fun and familiar those feelings are).

Easter is about truth: the incarnation (God the Son becoming man), the crucifixion (God the Son suffering the wrath of the Father), and the resurrection (God the Son raising from the dead by the power of the Father).

Easter is also about joy, but it is an informed, biblical, Christcentric, soul-satisfying joy in the sacrifice of Jesus. Not joy in tradition.

So celebrate Easter! I will.

Rejoice in the sacrifice and the glory of Christ on the cross and through the absent tomb. Gather with family and friends and enjoy those traditions as you magnify the gospel together.

But remember the risk of sentimentalism. Combat it with the substance of truth.


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Photo courtesy of Amanda Tipton and Flickr Creative Commons.


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About the Author

is the 20-year-old former editor-in-chief of The Rebelution and author of This Changes Everything: How the Gospel Transforms the Teen Years (Crossway, March 31, 2017). She's the co-founder of The Young Writers Workshop and hosts a podcast for youth called Age of Minority.



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