zaterdag 11 april 2009

Happy Easter! Back to the Basics?

Preceding Easter this year, Dutch media showed the result of a research about the opinion of Dutch citizens about Easter? What is it about? Could Monday after Easter as a religious holiday be changed for the end of Ramadan in order to correct the balance between Christian Holidays (some 7) and Muslim holidays (zero of 0). The result of the enquiry was that less than 40% of Dutch people know that on Good Friday (a public holiday) Christians celebrate the death of Jesus. Even less people could give the correct answer for Easter Sunday and Monday (also a public holiday). Not many more than 25% came with the correct answer that the resurrection of Jesus the Christ is commemorated.
Most people thought that Easter was some kind of spring celebration. Nice weather, more sun, celebration of new life. So, no memory of the Jewish Exodus from Egypt under leadership of Moses, but like we see many elements of a spring festival still in the Jewish celebration, so it has returned in this cyclical thinking again.
In fact, when listening to the first reading, Genesis 1, the neat of well-organized story of the creation in six days, I was thinking about this cycle of nature. Human beings on the last day, but superior to the rest of creation. We are the moderators of the world, at least we like to be like that.
There were further readings: the trip through the Red Sea. For the first time when listening to that story, I concentrated on the poor Egyptian soldiers under Pharao whop died in the water of the region where we now have the Suez Canal.
As to Dutch society, it seems to turn to this basic feeling of Easter as a spring festival again. Back to the origin? The Basics?
Saint John's Church in Utrecht, where I sing in the choir, had a great variety of people participating in the service. There were the seekers. Not only for answers, but even for the questions! They feel comforted sitting at the empty grave. But we have also the Evangelical believers, seeking the hands and heart of Jesus. Happy Easter!