Easter Weekends Remembered

As I sat at my desk on the morning of Good Friday, I was still filled with all of the confusion and emotions of the Easter weekends gone by. I remember as a young girl, I wondered why they called it “Good” Friday. They taught us in church that this man named Jesus Christ died on the cross to save us from our sins, therefore it was a Good Friday. Then they told us that three days later, he rose from the dead and ascended to heaven. So, why were we back in church only two days later and not three. These are confusing messages for a child.

I was raised with two brothers and two sisters with a single mom who tried to expose us to the traditions of the Christian faith at church. As she worked two to three jobs to raise five children, that was the one time of the year that she would make sure we all went to church. Afterwards, we would have an Easter egg hunt and a big dinner. That was the best time of the Easter weekend, “The big hunt.” But I still remember thinking that we should be doing this tomorrow, Easter Monday. As I became an adult, I tried to express my feelings about this situation to my mom and she said it was because most people had to work on Monday. So, it appeared this Easter weekend thing was more like a convenience of celebration when we could, instead of when we should.

On Friday I was feeling the pressure of an obligation to reach out to my children and wish them a Happy Easter. Again, I am feeling this is the wrong thing to do, as they told us that they treated this Savior so horribly. They taught us that he was whipped till his back was bleeding and he had open cuts everywhere. Then they placed a crown of huge thorns on his head until his head was cut and bleeding. Then they made him walk through the city carrying the large post he was to be crucified on, while the guards whipped him, and the people threw things at him and spit in his face. Then they laid him on this other post that made a cross and nailed his feet and hands to it. Then they erected him and his cross up into the air which probably knocked both of his shoulders out of their sockets and broke his ankles. Finally, when he wouldn’t die in a timely manner, the speared him through his rib cage. To me, this was the most horrible act that a human could have ever done to another human, and I am supposed to call my boys up and say, “Happy Easter.” Something never felt right about that. And I have never felt there was anything Good about that Friday.

Emotionally, I get through these feelings, and then I anxiously wait for Sunday to arrive when I get gifts, and more importantly, chocolate. Again, confusion. Why am I getting gifts, and why am I hunting for eggs and eating a ton of chocolate? Mom said it was from an Easter Bunny, so now I have to Google why we do this. There is a million pages to comb through about this whole Easter thing, but I have found the connection to the rabbit. It says that the Easter Bunny, or Easter Hare, originated among German Lutherans. It played the role of judging children’s behaviors at the start of Eastertide. If you were a good child, you got gifts and candy on Easter morning from the hare. I am glad my mother never told me that I was being judged by a rabbit. I probably never would have liked them. This makes me smile and laugh at the conversations my mom and I would have had about disliking rabbits over judgement and church traditions.

Now, here I am laughing out loud to myself, and my whole energy about the “Good Friday” confusion melts away. I can feel the humor and love of my mother and what she tried to teach me in the Christian faith. I really think that is what the whole religious thing comes down to. It is what you feel in your heart and what resonates to you. I still don’t like Good Friday, but I still love the little chocolate Easter eggs. I don’t go to church on Easter Sunday as it doesn’t feel right to me. I do, however, spend quiet time on Easter Monday and reflect on the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. I then go out into nature and feel the Love of the Universe in the spring flowers and the re-birth of the spring season. This is my church. This is my Easter. This is the day I get to choose to celebrate in my own house free of judging rabbits. Happy Easter!

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