Let’s keep Easter Sunday a ‘holy day’
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?)
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?