Happy Easter!

This time is a dichotomy of events in the church. It’s the worst of times; it’s the best of times. The death of an icon, and his resurrection back to life, now a symbol to billions of people. For real? Scholars, anthropoligists and the world have followed this religious sequence for centuries and most are all still studying intricately: what does it all mean? Edifaces in statues. A Holy Grail cup that captured Christ’s blood at his dying breath. Codified laws in religious law books to honor the largest sacriface for man in mankind’s history??

Well, believe it. It’s my own blog, and I’ll assert personal privilege here by saying I’ve grown up in a church setting since I was a kid; I grew up a curious child asking questions; and defying theories that didn’t make sense in factual terms, I believe Christ died for my sins. Easter time is a most solemn and joyous time of Christianity. I use to follow the tradition: get new clothes, head Easter church service and then hunt for Easter eggs — and eat a chocalate bunny.

As a grown up, Easter faded away to important deadlines, grab a drink for Christ’s rebirth of the church, and talk to mom and dad, and other family to say hello. Mother’s and Father’s Day are next… another holiday… RIGHT? or not

2010. My Easter this year is one I haven’t experienced in decades, or perhaps, ever. I remember those days of old tho…

1983. I grew up near Gallup, N.M. I was 7 years old. My father, John, was a recent convert to Protestant Christianity. A Vietnam veteran, a little younger than what I am today.

He woke me up way before the sun came up just about every morning. To give prayer to the east and welcome a new day. The Navajo tradition is to welcome the day with prayer and with corn pollen–our traditional reason of giving thanks for a new day.

But today was Easter… my first sunrise church service. Dawn was breaking in the east, and the cool austere blue colors were intensifying in sky. We arrived at our location about a mile away from our church. The backdrop of this location is, well, think of a 200 foot sheer elevation of red rock wall rising up to the west. Rock climbers try it; if you’re on top, a fall down the sheer rock wall is near certain death.

Fire crackling, coffee bubbling, we we’re led in a service commemorating the reason why we live our life today. Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, beat death itself, but why?

Back to 2010. I live in Cleveland, Ohio, now. This past week has been one of the most time of introspect and thoughtful moments at an Easter time than ever before. I’ve celebrated Easter for many years, but this year was different.

I’m away from family and friends in a new landscape… Cleveland. I went to a Catholic church here for Midnight Mass Christmas… it was a chuch called Holy Rosary, in the Little Italy area of Cleveland. I joined their choir to sing. My first performances were for the most solemn celebrations in the Catholic church.

However, I have a good friend Zev in the area who I had an impromptu Sader meal with on Passover. My parents, and my buddy Mike, have been inching toward a Jewish style of worship recently. Having dinner with prayers and reflection of what the Jews’ misfortunes symbolized on a meal that celebrated the Angel of Death’s passover of a first-born was new to me.

Even my soon-to-be home church Calvary Reformed Church had a Passover meal on Thursday with an abbreviated version of the Sader meal brought all of us closer to what Jesus would have felt during his last supper.

Sader and Service of Shadows service at Calvery, Good Friday service at Holy Rosary, and tonight, Saturday, we had Easter Vigil–a celebration of Christ leaving his tomb empty, except his burial cloths neatly folded. No one stole that body. He arose from death.

This meaning instilled in billions of people’s minds. To some it’s a time to be solemn, and to follow thru with rituals, and forget about it until next year. No! This is really a time to reflect on your own death. Not a physical death, but the death of your own self when you renounced a way of sin. And, that you firmly believe that Jesus was killed for you to have eternal life.

Following this intensly to these services and celebrations with these events with new people close to me has really been a new experience. I only hope I can continue these services, these prayers and meditations throughout the year to keep me inspired and committed in the days and months to come.