Friday, April 22, 2011

Easter

"Easter" is a reference to a pagan festival for the goddess Eostre who represented spring time, fertility, and the life force. Her name came from the ancient word for spring, "eastre." She was the Great Earth Mother of the Saxons in Northern Europe. Her symbols were eggs, because they held new life, and rabbits, one of the most notably prolific animals, hence, the Easter Bunny. In the spring male wild hares would be seen leaping and "boxing" with each other, hence "mad as a March hare."

The Christian church adopted this festival to celebrate the time when Jesus celebrated Passover with his disciples, before being betrayed, tortured and crucified at the hands of the Romans, buried in a borrowed tomb, and on the first day of the week, resurrected. Thus "Easter" became a holy time for Christians, coinciding with the Passover feast of the Jewish faith. Although, Christians don't observe the Passover, believing that it was part of the Law of Moses fulfilled by the coming of the Messiah, it's all part of the same religious tradition of the fall of man and his atonement and redemption by Jehovah or Jesus Christ.

All that being said, Easter today celebrates the fulfillment of the Lord's plan of atonement and should humble us and fill us with both joy and love as we contemplate the infinite sacrifice made to allow us to be forgiven without the violation of the principle of justice that would otherwise cause us all to be lost and separated from God.

As I age and contemplate my own mortality and failures, I find myself yearning to know that Jesus knows and cares for me and will be merciful to me. I think about his suffering both in spirit and body from Gethsemane until he proclaimed, "It is finished!" and gave up his spirit. Only he was able to take up his body and become immortal and with his sacrifice we are "bought" or redeemed from the demands of justice. I believe that he would have undergone these things for each of us, if there were only one to be delivered, as he indicated in his parable of the lost sheep.

Perhaps the best expression of my feelings is stated in this LDS children's hymn, He Sent His Son:
How could the Father tell the world of love and tenderness?
He sent his Son, a newborn babe, with peace and holiness.

How could the Father show the world the pathway we should go?
He sent his Son to walk with men on earth, that we may know.

How could the Father tell the world of sacrifice, of death?
He sent his Son to die for us and rise with living breath.

What does the Father ask of us? What do the scriptures say?
Have faith, have hope, live like his Son, help others on their way.
What does he ask? Live like his Son.
"For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

"For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved." (John 3:16-17)

I find myself in the position of the man in Mark 9 whose son was possessed and suffered injuring seizures and brought brought him to the Master:
Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.

And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.
Amen.

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