Saturday, April 23, 2011

Easter creep

I write a weekly letter to my granddaughter who lives far away from me. It is a way in which I try to stay connected to her life. This is a portion of this week’s letter.

It is Holy Saturday as I write this. Traditionally this day has been for the Church a day to kind of hold our collective breaths. It is the part of the observance of remembrance about Christ’s life, death, and Resurrection. On this day, symbolically, Christ was dead and in a tomb. We all kind of held our breath from the time of his death yesterday until his Resurrection tomorrow.

For some, a few I think, today remains a quiet day of meditation, but for many congregations this is a day of preparation for the Easter Vigil service which will be held this evening, where the fast of Lent is broken and the light of Easter is celebrated.

I have two thoughts about this change to Easter Vigil on Easter Eve. One thought is that it feels like “Easter creep.” Easter has not remained on Easter Day. It has crept over to the night before. This creeping to the night before then puts the figurative breath back into Holy Saturday. We don’t need to hold our collective breaths while we remember Christ as being dead and buried, because we are preparing for the big celebration this evening. I am uncomfortable with “Easter creep.”

My second thought is that since so much of the world has given up on religion, that religion just does not mean anything to so many people today, that for those few of us to whom it remains an important part of our lives we seem even more anachronistic. We have become a quaint little sideshow that has no meaning to the lives of so many people. This both saddens and worries me. Whether they will recognize it or not, there is a very real spiritual side to life. By not being aware of it, open to it, or studying to learn from it they are short-changing their lives.

I read in the news earlier this week of a request for volunteers to help in a park this weekend in hiding “Spring Eggs” for the Spring Egg Hunt for the children. They couldn’t even refer to it as an Easter Egg Hunt. They have taken the Christian observance and tradition, removed the symbolism of new life from an egg, and made it a public fun event with evidently no more meaning to it than a fun little adventure for the kiddies.

Pretend that a new fad began that involved numbing our tongues so that we could not taste food. I certainly hope that such a fad does not begin. It would not be long until individuals and groups of people forgot that food had taste. They would eat without enjoying the flavors of the foods, the sweets, and saltiness, the bitterness of beer, the tartness of rhubarb, the hot spiciness of jalapeno peppers, the tangy flavors, the mixture of flavors in a butterscotch, chocolate ice cream Sunday. Neither would we receive the warning of very bad tasting food that has spoiled and is not good to eat. “Have you tasted this (or, “Please taste (or smell) this and tell me what you think…”) is it bad or spoiled, or do you think that it is okay to eat it?” Those aspects of food would be there but we would not be aware of them. Our lives would be less enjoyable and more fragile without the awareness that flavors in foods give us. I see religion and faith and acceptance of the spiritual realm in which we live as similar to food flavors. They are there whether we acknowledge them or not and life is in so many ways enhanced when we recognize them and grow in our understanding of them.

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