Prepare the way for Easter
Easter is around the corner. In a few weeks we will be celebrating the Resurrection, along with bunnies, eggs, new dresses and fancy dinners. But, unlike Christmas, the fanfare is not nearly so great. Most people are actually welcoming spring and the new growth and the flowers. In the dead of winter, we need an excuse for a holiday. In the spring, not so much. Easter is not the cultural festival that Christmas has become.
In our history as Christians, Easter was always the big celebration, while much of the time Christmas wasn’t even noticed. Elaborate rituals came into being around Easter, while Christmas, if we noticed it at all, took up just a few days of our time. How much things have changed as time has passed. I think it has to do with what has become comfortable for us. Birth at Christmas is a lot easier to talk about than death and resurrection at Easter.
But prepare for it and talk about it we must if we are going to celebrate the full joy of Easter. Not only do we need to talk about Christ’s days in the wilderness, but also we need to find a way to feel them. Not only do we need to talk about the walk to Gethsemane; we need to find a way to experience it. We can talk all we want and we can study all we want, but putting ourselves into Christ’s shoes and walking the path will give us the spiritual fortitude to understand what the season is about. An atheist can be an expert on religion and not believe anything. We need to believe and find ways for our faith to grow.
This is the season of spiritual growth, when we dig deep inside and try to connect with God and our relationship with God. We express wonder at the new growth in the world; we marvel at the baby animals we see; we feel new feelings in ourselves. It is a time to explore new relationships and old relationships in new ways. It is time to renew our relationship to God.
Preparation is usually done during the 40 days of Lent. Forty days is a long time to prepare, and we are about half way through now. People prepare for Easter for a long time. Fasting and prayer, meditation and penitence are all ways to renew ourselves for the coming of Easter. Some Christians do the 14 Stations of the Cross, which depict the route from the time Christ left Pilate to the time he was crucified. These stations are done each week, not as a remembrance of something done, but as walking with someone doing it.
If you have been preparing during Lent, keep going. It is a wonderful way of understanding the love of God that was sent to us in Christ. If you haven’t started, then why not start now? There is always time in God’s calendar. The better we understand and the more we experience, the better our Easter experience will be. The closer we are to God, then the closer we are to the relationship we want with all creation. God is manifest at Easter in the Resurrection, in the flowers in spring, in the eggs and the bunnies, and yes, the pretty little dresses. But most of all, if we are prepared, God is in our hearts ready to break out into all the world just like spring does here where we live.