The seasons of Lent and Easter are arguably the holiest in the church calendar. Remembering Jesus’ sacrifice for us and celebrating his resurrection is really central to who we are as Christians! And since we live in Canada, let’s not forget that many of our neighbours probably misunderstand what we celebrate.

If you stop and think about it, for someone that hasn’t had much exposure to the Lent and Easter seasons, especially someone with a different religious perspective, Lent and Easter must seem like strange religious festivals… it’s a weird mix of pancakes, ashes, fasting, coloured eggs, chocolate bunnies, and flowers, among other things!

But, if we are open and patient, there can be great opportunities to share with others about our faith and hope in the risen Lord Jesus. Here are a few questions about the Lent and Easter seasons that I often get:

What are you “giving up” for Lent and/or why do you “give up something” for Lent?

A good friend of mine, who is not a Christian, asked me this question recently. The giving up or saying “no” to something is done to say “yes” to something else – or in this case, someone else – to spend more time with Jesus, reflecting on his sacrifice for us. There is a rhythm to Lent of fasting & feasting. Pastor Hilkka posted this quote from Terrance Finaly on Facebook a little while ago: “fast from excess and feast on simplicity, fast from negatives, feast on alternatives, fast from discontent, feast on gratitude, fast from gossip, feast on silence, fast from self-concern, feast on compassion, and fast from anxiety, feast on faith.”

What do you “celebrate” on Good Friday?

In response to this question, you might gently reply that we observe Good Friday, rather than “celebrate” it in that sense since, for many Christians, Good Friday is the culmination of the Lenten season of fasting and prayer, confession and repentance. It’s often a solemn day, when we reflect on the depth of sacrifice that Jesus paid for us. It’s a bit like the time I wished a Jewish friend of mine Happy Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement)…

Are Easter eggs and the Easter Bunny Christian symbols or ideas?

In a word, no. But, they are symbols of new life and, for some Christians, serve as a part of the traditional celebration of Christ’s resurrection at Easter. I personally enjoy chocolate Easter eggs and bunnies!

Do you really believe that Jesus died and was raised back to life?

Not too many of my friends that aren’t Christians ask this question, but many of our Muslim neighbours ask this one. It’s a great opportunity to share our belief that yes, Jesus was crucified, died and rose on the third day, and to discuss what their scriptures do and don’t say about Jesus.