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Thursday April 17, 2003

The meaning of this Easter weekend

When I was a little kid, Easter (to me) meant having to get up at the crack of dawn to get ready for the super-long Easter mass at my parent's church. Easter was synonymous with being uncomfortable, as my mom had always chosen the stuffiest Easter outfits for us kids to wear. In my family, we always had to dress up for church on Sunday, but Easter was the big one we had to loog good for. If it wasn't stuffy, it wasn't suitable, period.

Easter wasn't all bad, though. I loved coloring eggs and getting chocolate bunnies from my grandmother. The blessed eggs and ham didn't make for a bad meal, either. Parts of the day were actually a lot of fun. I just hated having to sit through a 75-minute mass in white patent leather shoes. Really, it was the uniform that killed me.

I remember asking my mom on several occasions why wearing a crisp, new Easter uniform was so important. After all, I thought, why does God care what we wear to church? Isn't it enough that we go? The wagging finger I got didn't really answer my question. According to my mom, it was an insult to God not to don the white Easter outfit. We had to look our best for him, because it was unthinkable to do so otherwise. And besides, what would everyone else think if we showed up to church wearing something other than white patent leather shoes?

This question actually made my mom angry. I remember her face getting pretty darn red as she said all this. Needless to say, I missed the point of the Easter uniform, the Easter ritual, the evil of missing mass, all that jazz. But now, as an adult, I can say that... I still don't understand it. Any of it.

When I look at what Easter means to me today, I don't see a mandatory church day with required uniform. Honestly, this year I didn't even think about the outfit, and I'm not sure yet if I'm even going to a Sunday service (If I go, I'll have to go alone, since my family belongs to a different church than I do). Today my perspective has flip-flopped, from a day of church to a day of faith.

Even though it's important to remember Christ's sacrifice every day of the year, it's Easter-time that makes this the focus of one's attention. For me, it reminds me of who I am, who He is, and why His work on earth was so important. It reminds me that God gave me a way to be with him even though I have done nothing to deserve it, nor could I possible do anything to deserve it.

This day serves as a remembrance of the gift of himself, when he died to save people from themselves... from the mess they've made of their lives, myself included. It reminds me (and astonishes me) that His one sacrifice was enough to wash away my lifetime of mistakes, something I could never have done on my own. It reminds me that I can try to look good, clean, white, and proper, but it's His blood (not my clothes) that will ever impress God.

For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God sent the Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him. John 3: 16-17.

For there is no distinction; since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, they are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus. Romans 3: 23-24.

And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. And every priest stands daily at his service, offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, then to wait until his enemies should be made a stool for his feet. For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are sanctified. Hebrews 10: 10-14.

I'm not buying white patent leather shoes. Maybe those things are just for people who have the patience to wear them. Those folks are much better than I am. But this time around, Easter will be meaninful for me, because my focus will be on the One that gives it meaning. And patent leather shoes or no patent leather shoes, that is really the only thing that matters. Happy Easter everyone.


beautiful entry. and have a most blessed easter as well! :-)

tray on April 17, 2003 08:30 PM

Luckily my parents have given up on the getting super dressed up part, and are content that I go to mass with them. It's nice to see at least one person still celebrates the real meaning of Easter, instead of the Easter Bunny. John 3:16 is my favorite Bible quote. I think it sums everything up in one line. Have a happy Easter Drina!

theresa on April 17, 2003 08:57 PM

Oh! Easter means: lots of chocolate, and I hate chocolate!

raddy on April 17, 2003 09:46 PM

Drina, that was wonderful to read - you have a wonderful poetic style- Very helpful in thinking about easter - thank you.

Steve on April 18, 2003 08:11 AM

Nice post, Drina. God bless you.

George Nemeth on April 18, 2003 12:15 PM

wow that was really neat entry. Easter (and Christmas, and the like) can easily become just a day of traditions, of going through the motions, and missing the point altogether. i used to ask my mom why we had to dress up for church, too. its kind of another tradition that can be a hindrance to focusing on whats really important, you know? have a great Easter!

rachel on April 18, 2003 04:08 PM

happy Easter, drina.

amber on April 18, 2003 05:38 PM

Merry Easter Drina. lol =)

aimee on April 18, 2003 09:47 PM

Oh wow. Enlightening. Anyways, I don't go to church at all :-( Poo. Happy Easter!

By the way, in that long entry: you had a couple typos.

Summer on April 19, 2003 06:13 PM