It is now thirty-two minutes into Easter so perhaps I can be the first to officially tell you Happy Easter in 2007.
What is Easter? As a child Easter was that day when I had to wear wear my hair curly from sponge rollers and wear some cute pastel dress my mom had sewn for me. Normally we would go to church like any other day but cuter then go to the great-grandparent's house afterwards for lunch and the Easter egg hunt.
As we got older what did Easter become? A three-day weekend with some religious significance. We always had Monday off and it seemed in my ignorance catholic discrimination. But now I'm realizing I was from a sheltered bread of Christian that Easter did not mean more to us.
But I don't want to blame myself too much. I'm going to blame others for this one. I don't know who specifically. But since coming to Wheaton a whole new world of religious traditions has been revealed to me. From church history, catholic and high church traditions, and practices of the evangelical stream. I love it all. I love the liturgical calender. I love the symbolic structuring of life around salvation. Thank you Wheaton for this exposure and for giving meaning back to Easter. I had never heard of Maundy Thursday before this year. I had been to a Seder before but this year I went to two. On Sunday night (4/1) I went to First Baptist of Wheaton. Then Tuesday night (4/3) I went to a reformed Synagogue in Lombard. Both of these experiences were meaningful and really helped set my heart and mind for this year's Easter. I missed Maundy Thursday services (stations of the cross at Via Christus or Foot washing at the Anglican Church) I didn't attend Good Friday services because of work and tonight I went to a movie party at one of the Via Christus member's houses. "The Last Temptation of Christ" It didn't really prepare my heart for Easter. I think I'll have to figure out how to use my new Daily Offices book in the morning to prepare my heart again for Easter. This is a very important day of the year. We don't take it seriously enough, or at least traditionally I haven't. Easter is when the fourth Seder cup is fulfilled. Easter is Christ's Resurrection. It is our hope and eternity. Easter is the reason our lives are oriented the way they are. Easter is the reason for all motivation, all desire, all joy. Easter gives us life. It is a day to celebrate because once we were in a lost in the desert but now we have been delivered to new life where all have a place of importance. Because of Easter Christ gives us strength to spend our lives not seeking material gain but instead seeking redemption for all people (this for me means working to overthrow injustice and oppression and accepting people who have been abused to realize their value and hope and joy).
On Easter we welcome people to the feast. Christ gave himself for humankind in the name of love. What does that mean? What can that look like? On Easter we must love. Because of Easter we must continue to love. And on our personal day of Easter, when we are resurrected it will be because of love. Praise God.