With the onset of the Easter season, here is a little piece which not only celebrates Easter, but is also mentions three episodes in my life. Also included at the end are a couple of my favourite poems.
What a wonderful time of the year with the onset of spring and how wonderful to be able to celebrate the promise that there is in the resurrection of our Lord on that first Easter Day.
No doubt there must be many who think, as I do, of Easters past, things which often became family traditions on such a great day. There would be the Easter eggs of course, and perhaps there would be visitors, such as the great aunt who, when I was a child, would give me a present of some sort – once it was a magic lantern – oh bliss. And there would be a bunch of primroses to be picked in the garden which I gave to my mother who would arrange it in her little glass posy-bowl. And there would be boiled eggs and toast for breakfast – and then off to church we would go.
Years later, with my own children, we would go to a little church which stood in the shadow of the ruined abbey by the lake with the sheep and their March-born lambs grazing in the fields close to the lake. The graves in the cemetery would be decorated with many flowers, just in case, someone told me, there's a general resurrection - and they would certainly want their kin to see that they still thought of them and kept their place tidy!
Years later when I drove country buses in that area, every year regularly on the Friday before Palm Sunday, an old gentleman would board the bus in town. He would be holding a bunch of daffodils. As we passed the path leading to the cemetery surrounding the church by the lake, he would get off. Then as I made the return journey to town an hour later, he would be there waiting by the farm gate opposite the path and chatting to the farmer – they met regularly once a year to exchange the year's news just like this. And yes, the old man's wife would be well remembered at that time.
When we lived near the sea, at dawn every Easter morning, we would gather on the sea-shore to sing hymns and to recite prayers as we greeted the morning light. There would be about ten or fifteen of us of all denominations, huddling together against the cold wind which scudded across the bare sands, the surf beating on the shore in the background, while the gaunt old castle would gaze grumpily down at us from the top of its nearby hill. Afterwards, it was hot drinks and sandwiches and then the chase back home to change and to go to the service at our own church.
Oh yes, the memories of Easters past I'm sure will remain with many. But most importantly, we all, like the disciples of old, will have greeted the Lord in our own way, shouting with joy: 'Halleluiah. The Lord is risen indeed!' – and now, having the certain knowledge that He will return to us one day.
Let us just hope that when He does reappear, it won't be the surprise that it was to all those who saw our resurrected Lord on that first Easter Day nearly two thousand years ago.
In the Kingdom of God…
…a person is lifted up by humbling himself, not by exalting himself in the eyes of others.
…strength is found through weakness, not by being confident in your own abilities.
…fullness comes by becoming empty, not by running after pleasure.
…life is gained by losing it, not by looking out for “number one.”
…riches come by giving them away, not by storing them up.
…greatness comes by becoming a servant, not by seeking power and celebrity.
The Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi.
Lord Make me an instrument of Thy peace;
Where there is hate that I may bring love;
Where there is offence that I may bring pardon;
Where there is discord that I may bring union
Where there is error that I may bring truth;
Where there is doubt that I may bring faith;
Where there is despair that I may bring hope;
Where there is darkness that I may bring light;
Where there is sadness that I may bring joy.
O Master, make me not so much to be consoled as to console;
Not so much to be loved as to love;
Not so much to be understood as to understand.
For it is in giving that one receives;
It is in self-forgetfulness that one finds;
It is in pardoning that one is pardoned;
It is in dying that one finds Eternal Life.