The name ‘Easter’ and internet misinformation

Suggestions that the word ‘Easter’ represents some syncretic paganisation of Christianity are not new, but seem to be becoming more common, at least on the various social media feeds that I receive. They are unconvincing. One line seeks to link the word ‘Easter’ with the Babylonian fertility goddess Ishtar. There is a meme circulating that this was some sort of papist plot, replacing the proper link of Easter to the Jewish Passover, and instead linking it to some pagan fertility cult. This is just prejudice. Really straightforwardly, the word ‘Easter’ is English, not Latin; the Church Latin word for the festival is ‘pascha’, which is obviously and directly linked to the Passover. In traditionally Roman Catholic...

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Preaching the resurrection

I heard an excellent Easter sermon from one of our pastors, Liam, on Sunday, which got me thinking. Generally, over the years, I have been disappointed with the preaching I have heard on Easter Sunday – not always, of course, but often enough that I am aware of it as a trend. Further, I recall that when it used to be my lot to preach the Easter sermon I found it a difficult task. My problem over the years has not been hearing ridiculous attempts to make the Easter message into some generic truth about death and rebirth – thankfully, the preachers I have sat under have not been so faithless or so vacuous. They have wanted to preach the wonderful, unique, gospel truth that God raised the crucified one from death. Which makes it all the odder that it...

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