Dear Parishioners and Visitors,
Our Easter congregation, like Christmas, is so diverse. Children home from college, relatives and friends visiting from out of town, as well as family members and friends from other denominations, all joining in worship with us. I welcome back those, who for various reasons, have been away from the Church. On this beautiful Easter day I offer a sincere welcome to all. It is my hope that all of you (and especially our visitors), will feel the warmth and hospitality of our parish. It is also my hope that you will leave filled with the peace of the Risen Christ.
Sharing a reflection on the Easter egg, I am reminded of an e-mail that my nephew Paul sent me a few years ago. As the Director of Continuing Adult Education at Bryant University in Rhode Island, he was invited to bring his two sons to a new event, the Spring Egg Hunt. As a matter of principle he declined the offer, reminding those directing the affair that “there is no such thing as a Spring Egg Hunt or spring eggs.” How proud I was that he stood up for what the day is really all about, the Resurrection of Jesus, Easter Day, not just another spring day.
The Easter egg is an ancient symbol of resurrection – new life. The tiny bird encased within its shell experiences life only after it breaks forth from its hard shell. At times we can be enveloped in our own “shells”, shells of anger, shells of pride, shells of intolerance, and shells of prejudice. Sadly, on Palm Sunday, we again witnessed a vicious act of violence, this time in Kansas. This Hate Crime was perpetrated by a 73 year old, who was known to be associated with the Ku Klux Klan. His rampage resulted in the killing of two people outside of a Jewish Community Center, and one person outside of a Jewish Retirement Home. The two people killed together were a grandfather out with his grandson. It is worth noting that all of the victims were Christian. Our Jewish Fathers in Faith were spared the anguish of loss this time, but all are diminished when any are the victims of brutality. Our shells can be walls that separate us from our relatives, friends and community. Walls that were often put up for such insignificant reasons. Only until we break out of our shells, can we truly experience life. All that is usually needed on our part is a small dose of humility.
We have purchased 80 dozen colorful plastic eggs to hand out to our children, as a symbol of Easter. It would have been nice to have the real thing, but not very practical. One of our parishioners, Michelle Mack, filled them with jelly beans and included a short message from me. My wish for all of you is that you will experience the peace, love and joy of Easter. For those of you who are still encased in a shell that keeps you apart from one another, I hope that you will have the determination and courage to break forth. Life is too short for walls.
New life, peace and love is what the Resurrection is all about. Happy and blessed Easter to all of you!