Christianity’s foundation was born on this day
The foundation of the Christian faith is Jesus’ resurrection, which today’s Easter observance celebrates.
This year the Easter celebration is amid the Jewish observance of Passover, which celebrates the liberation of the Jewish people by God from slavery in Egypt.
The Passover celebration began at sunset April 10 and will end at nightfall on Tuesday.
Easter is linked to the Passover by much of its symbolism as well as by its position in the calendar. Meanwhile, in many languages, the words for “Easter” and “Passover” are similar or identical.
Today, thousands of people in central Pennsylvania will attend Easter church services, sit down for special Easter meals with family members and friends, and enjoy decorations associated with the holiday.
For young children, Easter also means the arrival of the Easter Bunny with a “basketful of Easter joy,” part of the popular lyrics of the song “Here Comes Peter Cottontail” recorded by Gene Autry in 1950.
Those same young children also might have the exciting opportunity to participate in an Easter egg hunt today, if one wasn’t held in their community during the days leading up to today.
In the Jewish community, as with Christians celebrating Easter, today is a day for prayer, a festive meal and other long-held customs.
Christians and Jews alike can focus on the desire to be free of sin and ill will toward others, while at the same time acknowledging that this is not a perfect world and that many people on this planet don’t share in the good associated with today’s observances and positive intentions.
Christians and Jews alike began their day today wondering what the coming hours might bring — what pain and suffering others might be enduring or will be forced to endure.
But at the same time exists a fragile hope that at the end of the day bad news isn’t stealing attention from the two observances, such as what occurred on Palm Sunday — last Sunday — the day that twin blasts claimed by Islamic State struck Egyptian churches during services, killing more than 40 people.
At this time, it’s right to pray for people consumed by evil intent as well as for their victims, although it’s understandable that many people have difficulty praying for those responsible for evil acts.
Pope Francis, in an Easter message, said, “We ask you, Lord Jesus, to put an end to all war and every conflict, whether great or small, ancient or recent.
“We pray in a particular way for Syria, beloved Syria, that all those suffering the effects of the conflict can receive needed humanitarian aid and that neither side will again use deadly force, especially against the defenseless civil population, but instead boldly negotiate the peace long awaited and long overdue!”
Francis also emphasized that “if Christ were not raised, Christianity would lose its very meaning.”
And, he made a point that all should acknowledge — that “love is more powerful, love gives life, love makes hope blossom in the wilderness.”
Love, hope and joy are the bases for this important time of the year, and everyone should commit himself or herself to the meaningful things possible from those emphases.
The greeting “Happy Easter” is so much a part of this day, but this day means so much more than the greeting.