Easter Thoughts by Julie Barnes

04/30/2019 22:11

Spring is really here. And what a truly beautiful one watching everything come back to life ; bulbs flowering, trees blossoming, birds chirping, bumblebees searching for new
homes, warmer lighter days and incredible scents to breathe in.

In this season of rebirth feast day of Easter is observed by Christians to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, three days after his crucifixion. It reflects the end of Holy Week and Lent, and is the last day of the Easter Triduum that began on Holy Thursday evening and continued through Good Friday, Holy Saturday into Easter Sunday. According to S.D. Gordon, “Easter spells out beauty, the rare beauty of new life.”

And, as we all have noticed this holiday seems to be a little later than usual. So, why is Easter not on a fixed date and why does it seem more delayed this year? Firstly, Easter is observed on a Sunday anywhere from early March 22nd to late April 25th. The date selected for a particular year is connected to the full moon and spring equinox that may fall on March 19th, 20th, or the 21st. Specifically, Easter is celebrated on the first Sunday that follows the full Moon or “Paschal Moon” appearing right on or after the spring equinox. In 2019, however, the full moon and spring equinox actually fell on the same day of March 20th. If those guidelines were adhered to, why was Easter not celebrated on March 24th? The answer is: The Christian Church set the spring equinox date to always be on March 21st to simplify things. Therefore, the first full moon after March 21st would be April 19th or Good Friday. That gave us the late date of Sunday, April 21st for celebrating Easter this year. One more exception would be this: If the Paschal full moon appears on a Sunday after the spring equinox, then Easter will be observed on the following Sunday.

For Easter, there are several flowers whose meanings can be used to represent the resurrection. But, the quintessential Easter flower is, of course, the Easter lily. Outstanding trumpet-shaped white flowers offer the significance of love and hope. According to legend, white lilies appeared in the Garden of Gethsemane in the place where Jesus Christ shed tears of blood before his capture. On Easter, numerous Catholic Churches are festively decorated with white lilies to symbolize the purity and divinity of Jesus Christ and additionally, offer dedication to his mother, Mary.

Further legends encompassing the Easter lily include: The first ones sprang up where Eve shed tears of repentance in the Garden of Eden. Another professes that a bed of white lilies was left behind in the tomb of the Virgin Mary after she was taken directly into heaven. Gracing millions of homes and churches, the Easter lily serves as a beautiful reminder that Easter is a time for rejoicing and celebrating.

I leave you with the following poem by Louise Lewin Matthews that captures its essence:

Easter morn with lilies fair

fills the church wigth perfumes rare,

As their clouds of incense rise

swetest offerings to the skies.

Stately lillies pure and white

flooding darkness with their light

bloom and sorrow drift away,

On this holy hallow'd day

Easter lillies bending low

in the golden afterglow

bear a message from the sod

to the heavenly towers of God.