Sunday, March 31, 2013

Easter is new life, new hope

Many years ago, a friend of mine told me that her parents would wake her every Easter morning with the words: “Arise! The Lord is risen!”

I thought it was a beautiful tradition, and I began waking my children the same way.

Today in churches around the world, Christians will marvel at the 2,000-year-old retelling of the Resurrection story from Matthew 28:1-7:

“After the Sabbath as the first day of the week was dawning, Mary Magdalene came with the other Mary to inspect the tomb. Suddenly there was a mighty earthquake, as the angel of the Lord descended from heaven. He came to the stone, rolled it back, and sat on it. In appearance he resembled a flash of lightning while his garments were as dazzling as snow. The guards grew paralyzed with fear of him and fell down like dead men. Then the angel spoke, addressing the women: ‘Do not be frightened. I know you are looking for Jesus the crucified, but He is not here. He has been raised, exactly as he promised. Come and see the place where He was laid. Then go quickly and tell His disciples: He has been raised from the dead and now goes ahead of you to Galilee, where you will see Him.’”

Every year I pin an old Easter card on my bulletin board with the message:

“Easter is … new life, new hope – that all things can change, that we have another chance to glow and grow and share the life of the Lord with each other!”

Eggs symbolize new life, and they are everywhere. We dye them spring colors with our children and hide them in our yards for the little ones to find. We bake them in our breads.

Beautiful flowers also remind us of springtime and new life. Easter lilies adorn our church altars. Daffodils and tulips poke through the earth and brighten up our landscape.

In addition, new life is depicted by baby animals – downy yellow chicks; soft cuddly bunnies; and sometimes playful puppies.

Last week my husband visited the local shelter looking for a large dog to fill our kennel, vacated by the loss of our Jack Russell terrier last fall. But instead he rescued a tiny 21-week-old, 8-pound Yorkie mix that he named Buddy.

He had dirty, long, matted, white strands of hair and sad dark eyes.

The caretaker of the pound told my husband that the Yorkie was abandoned, found in a box by the side of the highway.

As I write this, Buddy is curled up nearby.

All things can change. Easter means a second chance for Buddy and for us.

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