Eastertide

The message and meaning of Easter continue long after the day and its wonderful customs and celebrations are over. Christians observe a small Easter every Sunday when we gather to worship on the first day of the week, Resurrection Day. The ancient church designated the time after Easter Day as Eastertide or the Season of Easter as a reminder that what we celebrate on one day with glorious music, stirring hymns and beautiful flowers has profound meaning for every day, every season. Because of Easter we live in a new world, a world in which a resurrection has happened. Death, our oldest enemy and deepest fear, has been vanquished. Love has been shown to be more powerful than hatred, compassion is more powerful than cruelty. Life is, always and forever, more powerful than death.

A dear friend of many years died this week. He and I were the same age. He was a big, robust man, with deeply and passionately held opinions on almost everything; politics, religion, music, motion pictures, Major League Baseball teams, – he was a Sox fan: I am a Cubs fan- food and drink. He loved life. He had a strong sense of justice and a partiality for the marginalized. He was a successful businessman, happily married to his high school sweetheart, father of five and grandfather of a small multitude of little ones. He was also very thoughtful, kind and always gracious. If one is truly fortunate in this life one has a few close and trusted friends whose company is thoroughly enjoyable and with whom one is totally comfortable. He was one of mine. I will miss him greatly.

His death, days after Easter reminds me of the central, bedrock affirmation of my faith. Death is not the final word spoken about my friend or any of us. The final word about us is spoken by God and that word is a word of eternal love.

It is also a reminder that every single day of our lives is a gift and that we best express gratitude for the precious gift of our lives by living them fully, holding nothing back, rejoicing in every day, every hour, every minute.

Thinking about my friend, and my own life, I looked for and found one of my favorite quotations. It is by Henri-Frederic Amiel, a Swiss professor of moral philosophy in the mid 19th century. Amiel wrote….

“Life is short, and we have never too much time for gladdening the hearts of those who are
traveling the journey with us. O be swift to love, make haste to be kind.”

Never let a day go by without gladdening someone’s heart, without telling your beloveds that you love them.

Comments

  1. Bud and Monet says:

    Dear John,

    Were you writing about Lars Lofgren in Eastertide? Forgive us for asking, but I believe we heard in church this morning that Lars had died. He was a fine acquaintance of Bud’s—and mine, and was an exceptional friend to Glen. We could find no obituary but will call Judith Watt tomorrow.

    Your description is right-on, if indeed Lars was the subject of your remarkable tribute.

    Good wishes, always.

    Monet Fennema

  2. Susan Van Hooser says:

    So sorry for your loss. Yes, the message of Easter enables us to face anything!

  3. Margaret Laing says:

    Thank you for gladdening my heart today with this beautiful post. Thank you for writing. As with Bonhoeffer about hymns, it’s as if I can hear you as I read.

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