Easter may not be celebrated with the pomp and circumstance accorded to Christmas in popular culture, says the Rev. Jeffrey Rider of Westport, but it carries more theological weight.
"Christmas certainly gets a lot of buzz, but from the Church's perspective, Easter is the most important holiday in our tradition," says the senior minister of Greens Farms Church. "The way one professor of mine put it, without Easter there really would be no Christmas."
That's because Easter celebrates the resurrection of Christ. Rider says the death and resurrection of Christ are so significant because they "truly changed the world." They "gave our Christian faith a voice at the time and [it] continues to this day," he says. Simply put, the fact that Christ was resurrected gave credibility to his claim that he was the son of God. Without his resurrection, who would have cared about his birth?
For Rider, the way in which Christ died makes his resurrection even more significant.
"Easter would fall flat without Holy Week," the minister says. Holy Week, which begins on Palm Sunday, commemorates the days before Christ's crucifixion. "Holy Week is important because it helps us understand the tremendous price that was paid for the good news we celebrate on Sunday morning, Rider says. It's what gives Easter its light, joy and sunshine."
Beyond the celebration of Christs resurrection, says Rider, who's been at Greens Farms for eight years, Easter is a time for coming together.
"The message of Easter is to include one and all. This is great, particularly when you think about the political climate with its increasing polarity and economic disparity."
What does Easter mean to you and your family?
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