Post 14/2021 Easter Sunday 4 April . . . Easter lilies gracing homes or churches symbolize new life. They also propel us to seek the peace in the here and now. We’ve had opportunities to provide an Easter lily in memory of loved ones who have gone before, to the peace of their reward. But not this year. Worship still remains virtual. Interestingly, the Easter lily originated on islands south of Japan. They were taken to England in 1777 and later to Bermuda. A virus wiped them out in Bermuda and production returned to Japan. After WW 1 an American serviceman took some bulbs to Oregon. Oregon and California became the prime growing regions for these plants that take three years to bloom.
Zoom with St Anta church
Today we rose early to join, via Zoom, the Easter Day service at St Anta & All Saints church in Carbis Bay, Cornwall, UK. Unlike the people who were present there in person, we were able to join the choir to sing the hymns, including “Thine be the glory, risen, conquering Son; / endless is the victory, thou o’er death hast won; / angels in bright raiment rolled the stone away, / kept the folded grave clothes where thy body lay. / Thine be the glory, risen, conquering Son, / Endless is the victory thou o’er death hast won.”
A striking phrase in Rev Etienne’s meditation was, “God takes away meaninglessness.” The resurrection of Jesus means that an individual, in the community of faith, can put aside the sheet that covers all nations and embrace the costless offer of the new life in Christ, he said. “God takes away all the sorrow and removes everything that caused estrangement between God and creation.”
More of the resurrection story
Later we watched the worship service broadcast from College Mennonite Church on our Greencroft TV channel. Both services included the scripture text from John 20:1-18. I’ll look at the text from the Gospel of Mark, 16:1-8.
Given our pandemic fatigue and yen to get back to worship as we’ve known it, can we image the terror and amazement that befell Mary Magdalene, and Mary, the Mother of James, and Salome who, according to Mark, when the sabbath was over, brought spices to anoint Jesus. Very early on the next day, when the sun had risen, they came to the tomb and found the stone already rolled back from the entrance.
“As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man, dressed in a white robe, sitting on the right side; and they were alarmed. But he said to them, ‘Do not be alarmed; you are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has been raised; he is not here. Look there is the place they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him, just as he told you.’ So they went out and fled from the tomb, for terror and amazement had seized them; and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.” (see Mark 16:1-8)
The unsettling power of Easter
A feature, April 2, by the above title, written by Esau McCaulley, Contributing Opinion Writer for the New York Times, in the subtitle noted that “The holiday is about much more than a celebration of spring.” Easter presents the frightening and mysterious prospect of resurrection, he said. McCaulley is assistant professor of New Testament at Wheaton (Illinois) College.
“The terrifying prospect of Easter is that God called these women [Mary Magdalene, Mary, mother of James, and Salome] to return to the same world that crucified Jesus with a very dangerous gift: hope in the power of God, the unending reservoir of forgiveness and an abundance of love. It would make them seem like fools. Who could believe such a thing? . . .
“The testimony of the Black church is that in times of deep crisis we somehow become more than our collective ability. We become a source of hope that did not originate in ourselves. . . .
McCaulley points out that post-pandemic we rightfully will have occasion to party and rejoice, “But we are also returning to a world of hatred, cruelty, division and a thirst for power that was never quarantined.
“As we leave the tombs of quarantine, a return to normal would be a disaster unless we recognize that we are going back to a world desperately in need of healing. For me, the source of that healing is an empty tomb in Jerusalem. The work that Jesus left his followers to do includes showing compassion and forgiveness and contending for a just society. It involves the ever-present offer for all to begin again. The weight of this work fills me with a terrifying fear, especially in light of all those who have done great evil in his name. Who is worthy of such a task? Like the women, the scope of it leaves me too often with a stunned silence.”
Photos from Greencroft and beyond
From Microsoft News online: “It’s OK: Give Yourself a Worry Window
The executive director of UNICEF recently shared this tip on social media. As things worry you throughout the day, write them down and put the list aside. Then give yourself a few minutes a day to look over the list and worry. Then put those things out of your mind. It’s an effective strategy for reducing free-floating anxiety.
This year we had a takeaway meal prepared by Greencroft Culinary Services. Tasty. Salad, red skin potatoes, green beans, ham, roll and key-lime pie. We enjoyed the meal in the sun drenched confines of our patio.
As I’ve written on previous Easter blogs, one of our family traditions involves baked Easter Lilies. Christa, our sister-in-law, was baking them yesterday, we learned in a phone conversation. She corrected the recipe, noting that the baking time is more like 6-7 minutes and not 10. Niece Amy is another upholder of the family tradition.
Here it is:
1/2 cup white sugar
dash of salt
1/2 cup flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
Beat all together and drop a small teaspoonful on greased cookie sheet. Back about 6-7 minutes in 350 degree oven. Take off cookie sheet with spatula as soon as baked and pinch one end together to shape like a lily leaf. When cooled, fill with ice cream and enjoy. This is a longstanding family recipe that “blooms” once a year for Easter dessert.