Easter or “Eater” Sunday? by Betty Mason Arthurs
One spring a few years ago my husband and I traveled to Flagstaff from our home in the Phoenix area to spend Easter weekend with our daughter and her family. For their special Easter service, the church rented a large auditorium on the Northern Arizona University campus since their small building couldn’t accommodate the members from two Sunday services and their guests. Many used this day to reach out to family and friends who only attend church on Easter.
My heart burst with happiness as I walked with my husband and three grandsons, because we were once again a part of our family’s tradition, a Christian family celebrating Easter. Ravens and blue jays cawed their welcome of spring after a hard winter and squirrels chattered among the budding oak trees.
Memories of my childhood swept over me as I thought of all the Easters my parents, my two brothers and I had shared. Mom always had Easter lily stickers for her Sunday School classes and also made sure the sweet fragrance of fresh Easter lilies on the altar wafted through the church, symbols of new life. On good Friday before Easter Sunday, my Pastor-Dad served communion, speaking the words of Jesus when he shared the last supper with his disciples, “And as they did eat, Jesus took the bread, and blessed, and broke it, and gave to them, and said, ‘Take, eat: this is my body.’ And he took the cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them and they all drank of it…This is my blood of the New Testament, which is shed for many.” Christians around the world celebrate Jesus and his death on the cross for mankind and his resurrection from the dead on Easter. The magnificent hymn we sang each Easter, “Up from the grave He arose,” still resounds through my heart. I can hear my father’s tenor and my mom’s alto voices singing with faith and conviction. A faith that is mine today, thanks to them. And now I share Easters with my own children and grandchildren.
A huge crowd had gathered at NAU and ushers handed out post cards asking people to fill out one if they had any prayer requests. The headline of my card caused me to chuckle, “Eater Service,” the “s” was missing. I glanced at the other cards around me and all were spelled right. Evidently only a few were wrong. But then I realized “Eater” was not such a bad word. Easter was about eating as Jesus shared the last supper with his friends, the ancient Hebrew celebration of the Passover and their deliverance from their enemies. Today we honor Jesus’ death and resurrection with communion on Good Friday.
Yes, we can gather today for an “Eater” and Easter service, celebrating our risen Lord and Savior, Jesus.