Reflection of the Month
How would it feel if someone you knew died, but, when you visited his grave, it was empty?
The women who went to Jesus’ tomb on Easter morning did not find Jesus there. If that wasn’t surprise enough, an angel asked why they would come looking for a living person in a place for the dead?
And what if the friend who was not in his grave showed up alive and began talking to you?
That’s what happened to Jesus’ friends and disciples. He walked with them and shared important bits he wanted them to know from the Bible. He ate solid food. Then they realized He was Jesus. They were so glad. They knew He was the Son of God and that everything he had said about Himself was true. He was fully alive and did not stay dead.
Instead of running away to hide or grieving the loss of their best friend Jesus, they could celebrate. They did. And we do today. We have traditions in America enjoyed for many years, often coming to us from other countries. They help us focus on Easter.
Have you tasted a Hot Cross Bun? It is a sweet roll studded with raisins or currants and marked with a cross on top to remind us of Jesus’ cross. The buns are baked before Easter. They are popular in Great Britain. It is said a monk in the 12th century was the first to bake buns marked with a cross for a meal on Good Friday.
Have you ever seen an Easter Sunrise Service? Young men in Saxony, Germany held the first one in order to remember the empty tomb that greeted Mary at dawn that first Easter morning. Their entire church congregation came the next year. Sunrise Services started at the same time in America, in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. We have had them ever since.
Do you dye eggs for Easter? Pennsylvania Dutch settlers in the early 1700’s were the first to dye eggs here we're told. Early Christians considered eggs “the seed of life”. That's why they were and continue to be a reminder of the resurrection of Jesus. In ancient Egypt, Greece, Rome, and Persia, eggs were dyed for spring festivals. In medieval Europe, they were decorated as gifts.
Egg rolling down hills, Easter morning, is a game connected to rolling away the rock from Jesus’ tomb when he rose from death. The British brought this custom to America. Egg knocking, when two persons tap the pointed ends of their eggs against each other to see which one cracks and which one “survives”, is a game started in medieval Europe. Families in Marksville, Louisiana gather at the Courthouse Square on Easter Sunday to battle their eggs. Some families prepare in advance by giving their chickens special feed in hopes of producing stronger eggs!
There are other traditions you may know about and can share with others to help them celebrate Easter.
However, people who have no idea what is so great about Easter, friends you know in Buffalo, might like to hear you explain its importance by comparing it and the way we prepare for it, to a football season.
Lent, for instance, is like a football season. Enthusiasm for football causes us to plan ahead, buy tickets, and organize parties. We have been waiting all year to get together with other friends who are fans and celebrate with them on weekends.
If Sundays during Lent are regular game days, Easter is the Super Bowl. Easter is the celebration of Jesus defeating death and rising from the grave. It’s the big event and we come in celebrating because we know our team wins. Go ahead. Say it.