Let’s keep Easter Sun­day a ‘holy day’

The Northern Advocate - - Opinion -

Ire­mem­ber many years ago, when Grant Fox was in his prime as an All Black, his com­ment­ing on the ad­vent of Sun­day Rugby. He said “I am not a re­li­gious man, but I greatly value one day off a week to rest up and be at home with my fam­ily”.

As our in­creas­ingly sec­u­lar so­ci­ety plunges fur­ther into busi­ness, much­ness and ma­te­ri­al­ism ev­i­denced by the hel­ter-skel­ter of “San­ta­claus­traex­cess”, and the alarm­ing in­crease of stress-re­lated ill­ness in so­ci­ety, when and how do we take time to breathe … to slow down … to smell the jas­mine … and to just … rest?

It is well to be re­minded that the all-pow­er­ful Cre­ator God of our planet and the uni­verse, rested and set apart one day in the week. “And on the sev­enth day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the sev­enth day from all the work which He had done. Then God blessed the sev­enth day and sanc­ti­fied it… ” Ge­n­e­sis 2:2,3a.

Now I am not writ­ing this piece to de­bate which day of the week we should rest on, as that could only start un­nec­es­sary de­bate. (Al­though it is in­ter­est­ing to note that in the Ge­n­e­sis ac­count hu­man­ity’s first day of life was a rest day — God’s sev­enth. Is this a clue as to how we should live — work­ing out of rest?)

I di­gress.

What I am re­ally want­ing to re­mind us all about is the idea of rest­ing. Al­though Sun­days are now largely for­got­ten by sec­u­lar Ki­wis as a “holy day”, I want to ad­dress the dis­trict coun­cil’s pro­posal of Easter Sun­day trad­ing that could well come into force next year. Sub­mis­sions closed last week, and a pub­lic hear­ing is on De­cem­ber 12.

There are two things of im­por­tance here to con­sider.

Firstly, that our na­tion is ac­tu­ally founded on the Chris­tian faith. His­tory records that the tan­gata whenua ac­cepted with joy the Good News of Je­sus Christ that the mis­sion­ar­ies brought as a for­giver, friend and rec­on­ciler of men.

Just three pub­lic Chris­tian “holy days” have been recog­nised over the many years of our na­tion’s his­tory — Christ­mas day (the birth of the saviour Je­sus Christ); Good Fri­day (the death of Je­sus Christ for hu­man­ity’s sins); and Easter Sun­day (the res­ur­rec­tion Of Je­sus Christ from the dead, en­sur­ing eter­nal life for those who be­lieve).

The apos­tle Paul said “if Christ is not risen, your faith is fu­tile, you are still in your sins” 1 Cor. 15: 17. So Easter Sun­day is in­trin­si­cally con­nected to Good Fri­day and, with­out Christ’s Res­ur­rec­tion, there is no Chris­tian faith.

To mark the sig­nif­i­cance of Chris­tian­ity, our city fore­fa­thers adopted a crest with a Ma¯ori chief and a Chris­tian minister on it with the in­scrip­tion “Non Nobis Solum” mean­ing “not to our­selves alone”.

So, if our coun­cil de­cides to scrap Easter Sun­day as a “holy day” in favour of ram­pant ma­te­ri­al­ism, it is partly ig­nor­ing the his­tory of our city and na­tion.

Sec­ondly, rest! Our coun­cil could be a leader in our na­tion by buck­ing the trend of ram­pant ma­te­ri­al­ism and de­cide — yes, our peo­ple work hard enough, let’s en­cour­age ev­ery­one to rest and be with their fam­i­lies.

Let’s slow the pace of life down and al­low peo­ple time to smell the jas­mine. Let’s put a line in the sand and pay at­ten­tion to the causes of stress-re­lated ill­nesses, and en­cour­age our good peo­ple to “holy day” on Easter Sun­day.

Af­ter all, Grant Fox rested … so did God. So couldn’t we on Easter Sun­day?

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