Wouldn’t it be great if Easter wasn’t called Easter? If everyone knew it as Resurrection Sunday instead?
But they don’t.
Our church uses both terms. But, as you can see in the artwork above, Easter is our church’s go-to term, not Resurrection Sunday. Especially when we invite people to join us.
Some ministers believe it’s outright wrong, even unchristian, to use the word Easter at all. If your church doesn’t use the word Easter, I’m not arguing that you should.
But before you criticize us for it, I hope you’ll hear me out.
Here are five reasons we call it Easter:
1. Resurrection Sunday Is Insider Lingo
Years ago, I asked a neighbor if he’d like to attend our church for Resurrection Sunday.
His response? “Uh… doesn’t your church celebrate Easter?”
I tried to explain to him that Resurrection Sunday is Easter Sunday. That the word Easter has pagan roots. That Resurrection Sunday is a more theologically correct term.
He wasn’t buying it. A church that didn’t celebrate Easter seemed like a cult to him and he wanted no part of that. No matter what we called it. Or why.
No, I don’t take my theological cues from nonbelievers. But this wasn’t about theology. It was about a language barrier.
2. Easter Is An Open Door
Easter Sunday is the biggest day of the year for most churches. (But not all. Click here to read Overcoming The Small Church Easter Sunday Blues.)
More unchurched people go to church on Easter than any other Sunday of the year. It’s also when they’re more likely to make real commitments to Jesus than any other day.
Why would I close that door by using a term I have to interpret?
3. Using The Word Won’t Tempt Anyone To Worship Pagan Gods
The primary argument against using the term Easter to celebrate the risen Christ is that the word may have pagan roots. (Or it may not. More on that in Point 4).
But calling it Easter doesn’t mean my church is worshiping the Anglo-Saxon goddess Ēostre any more than calling it Resurrection Sunday means we’re worshiping the pagan Sun God. We’re also not worshiping the Norse god Frigg on Good Friday.
While we’re at it, no one thinks we’re compromising with paganism when we use the terms January and March, which were named after the Roman gods Janus and Mars. We also accept the names of the planets without worshiping the Roman gods they were named after.