Welcoming Spring

Today Christians around the world celebrate Easter, a day that commemorates the resurrection of Jesus. In fact, the transformation of Christ is one of the central tenets of Christianity. It established Jesus as the son of God and proof that Jehovah would judge the world justly. As taught today, belief in Jesus as the Son of God and the path to Christian salvation is the way to achieve spiritual resurrection.

Growing up, we were taught in Sunday School that one could ask for forgiveness and salvation on one’s deathbed and still sit at the foot of Christ. Fair enough. But to me, that never made much sense. It felt more like a way to cheat one’s way into heaven.

By the time I graduated high school, I had discovered a vast difference between “religion” and “spirituality.”

Wikipedia defines Religion as “a cultural system of designated behaviors and practices, morals, worldviews, texts, sanctified places, prophecies, ethics, or organizations, that relates humanity to supernatural, transcendental, or spiritual elements.” Traditionally, Spirituality is defined as “a religious process of re-formation which ‘aims to recover the original shape of man,’ oriented at ‘the image of God’ as exemplified by the founders and sacred texts of the religions of the world.” A more modern interpretation broadened the term to refer to a broader range of experience, which includes a variety of traditions, thereby making the definition somewhat more subjective.

The concept of resurrection and rebirth goes back to ancient times when our ancestors celebrated the return of the sun and green, growing things. Like many pre-Christian holy days, pagans followed the phases of the moon and cycles of the year. As the seasons changed, so did the celebrations throughout the year. With the advent of spring, early peoples welcomed Eostre, goddess of Spring, back to the world after the darkness of the Winter months. Now, I could go into all the symbolism involved, but suffice it to say that the hare (bunny) and the egg were potent symbols of fertility. Those symbols have persisted throughout the ages and remain a part of Easter traditions in the Western world.

Whichever way you celebrate the holiday, be safe and enjoy the day.

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