THE TRUE MEANING OF EASTER
The true meaning of Sacrifice and Go(o)dwill
I have been lucky. For some years I taught at a diagnostic unit attached to a large hospital. It was for language disabled children. Although many years ago, even then it was a cultural conglomerate so rich in diversity that one could not but absorb some of the flavour and values of several religions. Because we worked with children that were disadvantaged (in terms of learning), we shared at a deep level with the parents of those children. After all, we all had the children’s best interests at heart. During that time I was privileged to experience the very best forms of expression of several major religions, as we celebrated all the festivals and holy days of all the children in the unit. I recall Moslem, Hindu, Protestant, Catholic and Greek Orthodox Christian, Sufi, Jewish and Seventh Day Adventists families. One mother and her mute child were brought to the unit by a traditional Shona healer, a man who was also a sculptor who upheld universal ideals through his art. Somehow I do not recall any judgement. How enriching to the soul it was to share – ideas and sound moral principles, wonderful food and songs, symbolic exchanges of gifts and blessings.
EASTER – No…. it does not mean “long weekend” or “marshmallow egg”
I am lucky still. I live far away from shops and the bling that seems to shout the odds for every possible occasion, encouraging a consumer interpretation of even the most sacred religious times. It is easier for those of us that lead a simpler life, to remember the true meaning of Easter. Remember that Jesus fasted in the desert for 40 days and that this rigorous time of discipline and abstention is the forty days of Lent. I am not religious, but there are certain traditions in every religion that help me to reconsider what is important.
The last day of Jesus
The Stations of the Cross or Via Dolorosa (the way of grief) symbolises the events leading to the death of Jesus. He was betrayed by Judas, condemned by the Sanhedrin (the religious leaders of the time), denied by Peter, Judged by Pilate, crowned with thorns, and took up his cross. Simon of Cyrene helped him to carry his cross. He is nailed to the cross and is crucified. He promises the kingdom of heaven to the good thief. His mother suffers at his feet. He dies and is placed in the tomb.
Hope of a new life
And then, on Easter Sunday, we think on the empty tomb, the terrible loss of Jesus of Nazareth who suffered for the sins of the world. But, as the sun rises, we arise with the resurrected Christ. One does not have to buy into the factual truth (or dispute it) to understand the powerful significance of the risen Christ. Jesus the man was crucified and died, but the Christ light is now within us. We have to continue with the task of unconditional love.
Author: Suenel Bruwer Holloway is a playwright, poet, speechwriter, translator and editor as well as guest writer. She specializes in satirical social commentary, the arts, education, book reviews and three course picnics. She comes from a long line of hat wearers.
Suenel is available for guest posts and can be contacted at the e-mail address provided.