Traditions can be an important part of life.  The practice of cleaning the gravestones at God’s Acre in Old Salem just south of Winston Salem has been going on for more than 100 years.  When asked why the practice was still continued, the answer given was that it was done out of respect for the family and because it was is tradition.

There are many traditions that go along with Easter as well.  I had the honor of sharing one common Easter greeting with some new faces at our church.  When someone says to you, “He is risen!”  The correct response is, “He is risen, indeed!”  There is nothing wrong with a “He sure is!” or “I know, isn’t it great!”  But that’s not the traditional response.  This might not seem that important at first glance, but jump into the account with me from the gospel of Luke.

The women marching to the tomb that first Easter were armed with spices.  Those spices might not have accomplished much – after all a dead body would still be a dead body, even if it was packed with spices, right?  What was the point?  This was tradition.  This tradition was part of the ancient burial custom in the ancient world.  This was how the women were grieving.

I wonder if we miss the horrible truth that the Easter story is set in.  The disciples had witnessed an incredible miscarriage of justice and they were afraid that the same thing would happen to them too.  Besides the fear, they were heartbroken.  They had hoped for so much with Jesus.  For many of them it was hope in the wrong person.  Jesus wasn’t everything they had hoped for, not because there was anything wrong with Jesus.  The problem was that they were hoping for the wrong thing.  Jesus would not liberate the Jewish nation from the jackboot of Rome.  Jesus would not raise the nation to the power known during the time of King David.  Jesus came for one reason, that was to be the lamb of God who might take away the sin of the world.

That Jesus did completely and perfectly.  Easter is when everything comes together for the disciples because Easter is all about the truth.  It is that truth that death has lost, that sin is forgiven, that God keeps his promises that makes so powerful.  That’s why Easter traditions whatever they might be are important.  If anything – even scrubbing gravestones – can focus you on the glorious truth that those graves will all be empty one day, then that is a tradition worth keeping.

Want to hear more?  Watch this Easter’s message taken from Luke 24.