Thursday, March 13, 2008

New Life at Easter, Emma Kalinowski

It’s Easter! I bet you are all wondering what fresh way you can make Easter come alive for your kids! Lets face it, Christ’s birth is a story kids love to hear, and Christmas a day they look forward to. Easter, however, requires more imagination.

To some, Easter is a day of chocolate bunnies, for some it is time with family, for others a special service at church, and for yet others, a combination! From family to family and within families, the ways we celebrate Easter vary wildly.

I expect that in our truly diverse MOPS group there are few who celebrate Easter the same way. Our MOPS moms come from Baptist, Church of God, Catholic, Pentecostal, Lutheran, Methodist, and Presbyterian backgrounds and more! Many people come from “blended” faith families or do not identify with a denomination.

I am one of those “blended” family people. I grew up with an Anglican mother, a (formerly) Mormon stepmother, and then a Catholic stepmother. In high school, I became Free Methodist. To add to the “blend,” ten years ago, I married a Catholic man with a Jewish mother.

Since I married, my Easters have been at Aaron's Grandma’s house in Michigan with all the rowdy Polish and Polish -American relatives. They do strange things like having their Easter meal (rye bread, boiled eggs, and sausage) blessed by the Priest. They call this Swieconka.

This year, my poor husband will spend Easter in Indianapolis without his rowdy relatives because this Easter Vigil I am becoming Catholic at our local church.

To this end, I’ve studied the Catholic Easter traditions and am observing Lenten restrictions, including abstinence from meat on Fridays. These restrictions help me keep in mind Jesus’ sacrifice for us. My sacrifice and His are hardly comparable

“The Stations of the cross” were an important part of my grandmother’s Easter. She prayed at “stations” depicting the stops on Jesus’ journey to the cross. This is something I hope to do one day.

Many of us celebrate Easter with bunnies and eggs (especially chocolate ones!). Bunnies and eggs are passed down to us from pagan celebration of the Spring Equinox. The hare (now a bunny) and the egg were symbols of the spring goddess Eostre.

It is hard to escape the ubiquitous bunnies and eggs, so as Christians we have created stories that link the bunnies and eggs to the story of Easter and Pentecost (Ever heard of Resurrection eggs?) We have new life in Jesus just as the eggs represent new life. Perhaps the bunnies, with their very “fruitful” inclinations can represent the spread of the gospel!

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I don't believe my eyes! I never would have thought it possible! Julie Barker