The Easter season this year comes much later than usual. In true Hill Country tradition, that did not stop the temperature from dropping below freezing on Tuesday morning, send folks in the vineyards and peach orchards scurrying to deal with the threat.
For we Christians, this is the holiest of weeks. Easter week, or Resurrection week, is full of ceremony, symbolism and special significance.
Last Sunday, I was honored to be a part of the Mason Community Choir's Easter Cantata at St. Paul Lutheran Church. After several years of having played the roles of Judas and Peter in various productions, I was given the privilege of performing the role of Jesus Christ. The only real problem I had with the production was that I couldn't improvise my lines, as they are all pretty much well known and printed in red ink!
The Choir was wonderful. Their voices soared to Heaven, and lifted the message of the season up to all those in attendance. Marilyn Kahan's skill at the piano, and Lynn Reichenau's direction of the choir were flawless, and the actors and narrators played an important part of conveying the message of the production to those in the audience.
There are still egg hunts ahead of us, as well as Maunday Thursday and Good Friday sermons, all leading up to the dawning of a new day, and a new world, on Sunday.
It's the end of the old Way, and the beginning of the new. It is the constant fulfillment of prophecy, repeated year after year. It is promise brought to realization.
When I was a child, the many supernatural elements of Easter were both too difficult, and too terrifying, to fully comprehend. I suppose that's why, for most children, the season is all about candy-filled eggs, fuzzy bunnies and more chocolate than on Halloween. I remember the bright pastel colors, the new shoes and the family gatherings. I wasn't so much aware, or worried about, what it all meant.
As an adult, I have years of reading, discussion and Hollywood film adaptations under my belt when I go into Easter. I place more faith in the reading and the talks than the films. Even those movies that are hailed as being "accurate" and "faithful to the source material" are still commercial enterprises that need to either recoup their investment, or make obscene amounts of money by convincing everyone that seeing the film will be "life changing."
I've always loved movies. I enjoy watching how plots move along, stories develop and images reinforce the message. When it comes to my religion, I find that movies are a poor substitute for other methods of discovery and discussion. I have the same attitude toward films that have political motivations. Cinema is designed to evoke certain emotional responses in the viewers, and they will use evocative music, special effects or judicious editing to make me, or someone, feel a certain way.
We all know that ET is not a real alien. We all know that he isn't really dead. But, Steven Spielberg knows how to arrange scenes, point of view and music so that he gets viewers to cry every time they watch the movie, even when they know that the little gray guy will rebound at the end of the movie.
I am an adult now. I do know how important the journey of Christ was to the people of his time, and to all of those who have come since that time. I do know why I have the emotional responses I do to Easter. I know through my faith and my belief that the promises that were made, the prophecies that were fulfilled and the pain that was suffered are all a vital part of what I believe, and who I am.
Easter, contrary to what many might think, is the more important of the two high holy seasons of the Christian church. Though Christmas is often thought of as "the Beginning," it is merely a footnote in Christian belief. It is Easter that is actually the beginning of the Christian church, and not, as some think, the "end of the story."
It is the end of the old, and the beginning of the new. It is promise fulfilled. It is the birth of our faith.
Have a joyous Easter, and enjoy all your new beginnings.
It’s all just my opinion.