By JR on Friday, April 06, 2012
Jackie Gingrich Cushman
Growing up in rural Georgia, Easter meant not only the resurrection of Jesus, but also a new Sunday dress, a hat, gloves and more chocolate than I could eat, at least at one time.
My clearest memory of Easter is not of all the candy that I ate, but of the beauty of the morning as we celebrated Easter during a sunrise service on top of a mountain. I'm not even sure where we were. We had gotten up early and driven a while. It was quite chilly, and I had a sweater wrapped around my shoulders.
The woods surrounded us, and the view was of the valley below. Azaleas were in bloom, and the trees were bright green. As the sun rose, fog came up from the ground, making the cross behind the altar barely visible. The area surrounding the cross was both hazy and bright: hazy from the fog, bright from the sun. The cross became clearer as the sun ascended in the sky and the fog burned off.
As the cross became clearer, the colors of the flowers and trees appeared brighter. The contrast of the cross, the symbol of Jesus' death, and the new growth of the trees and flowers were stark at the time, but now seem a perfect juxtaposition.
As a child, Easter seemed to be more about Jesus' death and his burial. Time was spent wondering during the service: What would a crown of thorns feel like, how would Jesus have been able to carry the cross, how could his mother have borne the loss of her son? Jesus' resurrection was, of course, mentioned, but not focused upon.
As an adult, I find myself spending more time thinking about Jesus' resurrection, what it meant to his disciples and what it means to me. Possibly as the balance of my life becomes shorter, and my eventual demise more evident, it is natural to focus on the life hereafter, rather than focus on death that is coming closer and closer.