Easter. What memories the very word evokes. Sunday school, new clothes -
perhaps a new hat, and the wondrous Easter baskets filled with chocolate bunnies and colored eggs. As we grew older, and had children of our own to get excited about the Easter bunny, this time of the year - Christian or not - we could relate the season to our beliefs. The resurrection of our bountiful natural surroundings. We watched as spring wildflowers overcame the harshness of the winter and burst forth in all their glory. The greening of trees, blossoms in abundance, easily lift one out of the winter gloom. The perennial beauty of riotous blooms gives meaning to eternal life.
One lovely ritual observed in a church we attended when my children were young was for the children to bring a freshly cut flower to be placed in a wire cross placed near the altar on Easter morning. Each child was then given a small potted plant to be taken home. When all of the flowers were inserted, the cross was a beautiful floral testament to the day. The message to the children was how the Crucifixion was replaced with new life in their flowers to be planted. An Overcoming of the death of the freshly cut flowers that would soon wilt and die. This was easier for the youngest children to understand than the fact that Jesus was crucified on the cross.(Image: Liberty Barn Church)
I carried this tradition with me to the Unity Church I attended for many years. At my request, a dear friend of mine, Dr. Carin Horn - who was a Prayer Chaplain there for several years, sent me the following which she wrote, that was used at an Easter service a few years ago:
"Our thought for today is a reflection -- a reflection of eternal life as evidenced by the changes that come with the blessings of spring.
Holy Spirit --
We know that there is nowhere where the Spirit of God is absent.
However, the wonders of early spring have a way of bringing that reality to mind:
- The verdant hues of new leaves on old trees,
- The buds that are everywhere present,
- Early blossoms on mature bulbs,
- And, the weed-like groundcover that portends of grassy green lawns.
They speak to your awesome presence, your love, and your grace.
They speak to your ever-present promise of eternal life,
And, for this we are grateful beyond measure, beyond words.
Thank you, dear Lord, for all that you have created. Amen.
No matter how you choose to celebrate this season, whether it be at a Christian service, a Jewish Passover Seder, or a family gathering and Easter egg hunt for the kiddos, remember to express your thanks for the abundance of new life and the beauty of the Springtime.
Peace and love,