Where’s the Basket?
That was the big question on a lot of kids mind this past week as another Easter has come and gone. Most traditional families celebrate Easter as a reminder of renewal, of life restored with the Christian promise of eternal life, through Jesus Christ’ death, burial and resurrection.
Kids get that message too, they really do! Looking back on my very small youth days I remember my grandmother spent a whole week leading up to the day preparing food and coloring eggs. She had the old farm house full of flavor, the aroma of home cooked food, pies and cakes and eggs. Ah, yes eggs, straight from the hen house, some small and white, and others big and brown. She gathered eggs all week, because Sunday was the big hunt.
Back then it was more family oriented and the large community egg lay outs didn’t happen. We actually had to hunt for them and often they were very hard to find. Most had a number on them which distinquished between prizes. My worst experience was when I accidentally touched the electric fence while looking for the last egg. I thought sure it was behind the big rock, but it sure was a shock.
Sunday morning meant everyone in the family dressed in their Easter best and spent the entire morning at church. I remember it being the longest three hours of the year. Getting ready and then Sunday school plus Church service to follow. There was always a special message and special singing, but the only thing I remember on my mind was the smell of baked ham, homemade mashed potatoes, fresh vegetables, pies and cakes, and the afternoon Easter egg hunt..
I can see the face of my youngest brother to this day, as he found the last egg. He made grandma get up off the bench in the yard and sure enough she was sitting on it. Oh how they all laughed when he accused her of trying to hatch it. What was more comical was the prize. Jimmy was six years old, grandma had been sneaking brother Bob who was 13, a cigarette on occasion and she was wanting him to find the egg. The prize was two hand rolled buglers. What an egg hunt it always was, my three brothers and sister, plus several cousins and friends. By the way that wasn’t the first time the electric fence put a shock into someone. Once during a hot summer day as we were cooling off in the creek, it held it’s grip on a Paden City boy for a couple minutes until we got the power knocked.
Many more memories come to mind and I’m sure we all have them, but this Easter may stand out as the one most remembered. A pandemic! I never would have imagined. While we did not attend any live church service and we didn’t have the usual gathering, we had food to eat and still managed to give praise to our Lord God almighty and thank him for his grace, goodness, love and the precious gift of eternal life.
At its best, Easter is also a culmination. After 40 days of Lent and the solemnity of Holy Week, it instructs us that suffering can have meaning, that we can be restored and, even increased, through pain and sacrifice. Many of us, whatever our beliefs, will spend the day celebrating life. Life is fragile, but Jesus made a way for us to be fearless, and look for eternal life where there will be no suffering.
All of us will suffer in this life in some way. It can be widespread, the suffering of whole societies gripped in constant fear and chaos. For others, suffering is personal but no less profound: the death of a loved one, a divorce, or concerns about how to put food on the family table.
Depression, anxiety, and the constant hum and buzz of modern life can be overwhelming, but that’s what Easter is all about, it’s about hope, it’s about faith in a Savior, it’s about love and compassion and just as we need today, it’s about a miracle. When all is said and done, we suffer; we celebrate; we live together.
In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus keeled and prayed to God before his crucifixion. He knew suffering was near for him, yet he also knew the end result. We are instructed to do the same, fall on our knees and pray for forgiveness and God will heal our land. I hope everyone took the time this past week to celebrate the life, death and resurrection of a living Savior. Ed Parsons can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org