Trusted local news leader for Prescott area communities since 1882
Sun, May 26

Editorial: Much is behind Easter traditions, Christianity

Pope Francis washes the foot of a man during the foot-washing ritual at the Castelnuovo di Porto refugees center, near Rome, Thursday, March 24. The pontiff washed and kissed the feet of Muslim, Orthodox, Hindu and Catholic refugees Thursday, declaring them children of the same God, in a gesture of welcome and brotherhood at a time when anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant sentiment has spiked following the Brussels attacks.
Photo by Associated Press.

Pope Francis washes the foot of a man during the foot-washing ritual at the Castelnuovo di Porto refugees center, near Rome, Thursday, March 24. The pontiff washed and kissed the feet of Muslim, Orthodox, Hindu and Catholic refugees Thursday, declaring them children of the same God, in a gesture of welcome and brotherhood at a time when anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant sentiment has spiked following the Brussels attacks.

Easter, also known as Resurrection Sunday, is a rebirth.

This is one reason why we have the tradition of Easter eggs – the simple egg representing the reborn and the tomb Christ left empty on the third day after being crucified.

Another symbol includes the Easter lily, signifying the resurrection – and in many languages the word “Easter” and “Passover” are identical or very similar.

The holiday weekend is preceded by Holy Week – with the days of the Easter Triduum, including Maundy Thursday, commemorating the Maundy (washing of feet, which you may have seen Pope Francis doing this past week) and the Last Supper.

Frankly, through my work at the Courier, I am exposed a lot to people of different faiths as well as those who profess no or varying beliefs. Often I hear or read of people exclaiming or debunking the origins of our country, even the origins of Christianity. Some also hold Christians to a higher standard, which is fine – considering that Christ said His followers will be persecuted.

Certainly, I never met a perfect person though, Christian or otherwise. I see this walk as a journey, not a destination.

Leaving the United States’ origins and the Founding Fathers aside, it is undeniable that 70.6 percent of our nation’s population identifies themselves as Christian, according to a 2014 study by the Pew Research Center. Of those 46.5 percent profess attendance at a variety of churches that could be considered Protestant, and 20.8 percent align their beliefs with the Roman Catholic Church.

We sometimes forget that; yet, armed with that knowledge, sadly so many are quick to dismiss Christians – whose extremes can span the rainbow, just like politics.

Annually, we witness on the news images and stories of His followers volunteering to be nailed to a cross. Some devout Catholics in the deeply religious Southeast Asian nation of the Philippines show their faith with what can be deeply unsettling displays.

Dozens of penitents, imitating the suffering of Christ, have real nails hammered into their palms and feet, while others drag heavy crosses or crawl on bloodied hands and knees in cities and towns across the country on Good Friday. Others, dressed as Roman centurions, aid the voluntary crucifixions, which last a few minutes before the faithful are taken down.

That is something very extreme and I don’t know I could do it. I would rather encounter the nails of daily life.

However, today, as you search for colorful eggs, eat chocolate, attend services and brunch … or relax watching the NCAA tournament … know there is much behind this celebration, even the simple words you may hear as a substitute to regular greetings: “He is Risen.”

He is Risen, indeed.

Contact

This Week's Circulars

To view money-saving ads...