The highest Christian holiday, Easter, falls this year at a time when our country lies low.
During normal times, the weeks leading to Easter consist of traditional holy observations at churches. Families and congregations break bread over fish dinners on Friday nights. Children celebrate the holiday weekend with Easter egg hunts in parks, on church grounds and the lawn of the White House. They wake up Sunday morning to baskets delivered by an elusive bunny who somehow visits millions of homes overnight without being seen.
Easter is a time of getting together, getting out and celebrating joy.
This year is different. The vast majority of churches, of all denominations, are closed. Some ministers and priests have celebrated the Easter Vigil or Easter Day services and streamed them in real time for parishioners to watch at home.
We know of families gathering in front of screens to watch services before settling in for Easter feasts that bring an end to the 40 days of fasting, prayer and penances the more faithful Christians observe throughout Lent. This has been and will be an Easter like no other in any American's lifetime.
Christians should hope and pray they remember this as the best Easter of their lifetimes — the occasion that humbled us to the point of remembering the suffering, death, and sacrifice of Jesus that led to this holy day. In their prayers, they should remember their Jewish brothers and sisters who simultaneously celebrate the high holiday of Passover during these difficult and troubling times.
Easter is a time of rebirth. It celebrates the resurrection of Jesus after Romans crucified him at Calvary. Christians believe Jesus spent three days in a tomb before his resurrection and ascension into heaven.
Nothing seems more appropriate in these times of crisis than the remembrance of Jesus arising from death to begin eternal life with God, his father, and offering the opportunity for eternal life to humanity.
Easter typically coincides with the emergence of young flora and fauna, the greening of grass, and the warming of regions throughout much of the Northern Hemisphere. It is a time of new beginnings and hope. It is the time we look forward to emerging from our homes for outdoor celebrations of Memorial Day and Independence Day, parades and concerts in parks.
This year, Americans of all faiths will mostly remain in and around their homes and distant from extended family members, neighbors and friends. They will remain in the tomb of isolation ordered so the world can defeat a microscopic enemy attacking Christians, Jews, Muslims, atheists and people of all the world's beliefs.
We are in this together throughout Easter and Passover. Most of us will survive to see light at the end of this tomb and emerge into a world we are ready and able to improve.
We can choose to cherish our lives and freedom more than ever before. We can choose to love like never before. We can choose to make this the Easter that marks a new beginning for a world emerging from a deadly plague into a state of health, happiness and respect for human life.
REPRINTED FROM THE COLORADO SPRINGS GAZETTE
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