Bellport United Methodist Church
Monday, April 24, 2017
He who abides in love, abides in God.
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“The soul would have no rainbows if the eyes had no tears.”
~Native American proverb
When We Can't Find Easter
Easter is the most joyous Christian holy day ... except when it’s not. What do we do when our mood isn’t what we think it “should” be? The kids are sugared up, we’re juggling family gatherings (and maybe conflicts), our everyday challenges remain, and festive hymns — however rousing — fail to lift our spirits. We wonder, “What’s wrong with me, that I can’t seem to find Easter?”
Been there, done that. And it’s okay. You’re okay.
Jesus’ resurrection doesn’t scoop us out of our troubles, but the death-defying Christ walks through them beside us, on our own Emmaus road (Luke 24). We aren’t alone. When we can’t find Easter, Easter somehow finds us — if not on this designated Sunday, perhaps two days from now, or next week or mid-May. Watch for it; keep your heart open. Christ is risen indeed — and you shall be too.
Christ Risen and Realized
Author George Thompson tells of a Jewish rabbi’s appeal to Christians during the tumultuous 1930s. On Easter Eve, the rabbi wrote in a newspaper: “I challenge the Christian world to measure itself by the standards of Christ. As long as any group is judged by its creed or color or country in place of its character, Christianity is a sacrilege rather than sanctity. To this end, I summon Christians everywhere to make this Easter to signify Christ realized and not merely Christ risen.”
On the third day, the friends of Christ coming at daybreak … found the grave empty and the stone rolled away. In varying ways they realized the new wonder; but even they hardly realized that the world had died in the night. What they were looking at was the first day of a new creation, with a new heaven and a new earth; and in a semblance of the gardener, God walked again in the garden, in the cool not of the evening but of the dawn.
~ G.K. Chesterton
• Although Easter eggs were once part of pagan spring festivals, they’ve become Christian symbols of new life. A cracked-open shell also represents Jesus’ empty tomb on Easter morning.
• The early Christians of Mesopotamia began staining eggs red in honor of Jesus’ blood shed on the cross. Red eggs remain part of Greek Orthodox celebrations today.
• For Lent, some families used to give up eggs and dairy, so they prepared a pancake feast on Shrove Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday. They solved the egg surplus by hard-boiling them in various broths, which led to colored eggs.
• In medieval times, churches held “egg-throwing” festivals. The priest threw a hard-boiled egg toward the choir boys, who tossed it back and forth. When the clock struck 12, whoever was holding the egg got to keep it.
• In some European countries, children go from house to house to collect Easter eggs.
• Each year, the PAAS Dye Co. sells more than 10 million egg-coloring kits, which consumers use to decorate 180 million eggs.
• The tallest chocolate Easter egg ever produced weighed 16,000 pounds — more than an elephant!
Curing vs. Healing
In We Know How This Ends (Univ. of Minnesota Press), Bruce Kramer writes about “living while dying” from Lou Gehrig’s disease. While not denying his impending death, Kramer focuses on getting as much out of life as possible. Part of that involves the following distinction:
“Know the difference between curing and healing,” he writes. “Curing implies that things will be brought back to the way they were. ... Expecting a cure will only result in frustration and disappointment. But healing can take place.”
In Scripture, curing and healing are generally used interchangeably, yet one can happen without the other. We know people with disease or disability whose spirits are vibrant and faithful. Though they haven’t been cured, their lives are marked by God’s healing touch. Even in the Gospels, Jesus’ curing of ailments was often a sign of his greater healing: sins forgiven, community restored, faith embraced.
For what have you prayed for a cure? Might healing be the greater need?
After completing this Easter crossword,
unscramble the circled letters to discover a
The message of Easter is not only that Christ is risen, not only that suffering is not the last word, not only that God gives new life, but this: Nothing is impossible with God. ~The Rev. James Martin, S.J.