Greetings on this beautiful Easter Tuesday!
It is amazing to watch the tender plants respond so eagerly to the warmth and light of the sun. Our hostas have doubled in size in the last week.
Spring is such an appropriate time to have Easter and Passover. Both are feasts of new life, of a rebirth from the tombs of enslavement and death. The full moon after the spring equinox is a marker for these two ancient and lively feasts. Passover marks the day in which God saved the people of Israel from slavery in Egypt, by God’s powerful act. The people of Israel have celebrated that fateful day ever since, gathering as families, around a meal, to remember that they are God’s chosen ones, chosen to live a new life in accord with the will of God.
The same is true in many ways of the Christian Easter celebration. Christians cry “Alleluia” in the face of death and death’s many masks. They cry “He Is Risen!” in the face of all evidence to the contrary. This past Sunday morning, very early, at 4:30AM, the people of Sacred Heart gathered in darkness to recount the story of salvation, beginning with the story of creation and the garden in which God walked with human beings. We journeyed once more from the garden, through the story of Adam and Eve, the story of the Passover in Egypt, to the women approaching the tomb of Jesus of Nazareth after the Sabbath rest. And light shot forth in the Easter fire, which quickly spread to all of us holding candles, until the dark “tomb” of the church basement was aglow with light. Soon cries of Alleluia, He is Risen, rang out into the morning air, as 200 people processed through the streets of Waterfront South, moving in a long, incense ringed, line back into the church, transformed from darkness into a garden of lilies, daffodils and tulips, with lights blazing. Bells were ringing throughout the neighborhood, and echoing off the walls of a church so lovingly renovated over the last 25 years. This is Easter, celebrated around a table, with bread and wine, a re-creation of God’s loving embrace of all of us into life eternal.
As we sang early Sunday morning, I was overwhelmed by the power of hope, by the power of faith that all will be well, both here and hereafter. I was also struck by how many hands go into making the celebration of Passover and Easter possible. The washing of dishes, the cleaning of spaces, the decorating, the organizing, the ritualizing all happen because so many loving and careful people attend to these things. It reminds me of the story in John’s Gospel about the raising of Lazarus from the dead. When he came out of the tomb, bound hand and foot, Jesus asked the people around Lazarus to release him from his bindings. God’s gift of life works hand in hand with communities of people who love us, support us and nurture us.
It brings me back to the power of the sun, the eagerness of the baby plants all around us as we move deeper into April. It is all a communal endeavor, the new life that is booming all around us in this part of mother earth. The sun, the soil, the water, the tending of gardeners and farmers, the work of the earth worms, and the billions of microscopic bacteria hard at work in each cup of soil: all make possible the riotous, glorious shouting that is spring: We are risen, we are alive, we are resilient.
A blessed Spring to all of you!
PS. Remember, join us for the riotous fun that will be marching in Washington, DC on April 29th. We still have space on the bus. Call me at 609-605-3530! The People’s Climate March is one way in which to say “Alleluia.”
Mark Doorley, Ph.D.
CFET, Board of Trustees