Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happy Easter

From the distant past, a custom from China was commonly observed in Korea at the start of every new year. A red bean porridge was prepared and employed to ward off evil spirits by applying the bean paste to the walls and  door posts of the house. Disease and misfortunes, it was thought, would be avoided, assuring them a new year of happiness.

We no longer hear of this custom, but it's similar to what the Israelites did to receive their liberation from the Egyptians after their years of slavery. They killed a lamb and used the blood to sprinkle the door posts to prepare for their delivery from slavery.  Today, the Seder meal for Jews commemorates this liberation from slavery in Egypt. Christians at Easter remember their own liberation received from Christ by his sacrifice on the cross.

A religious sister, a theologian, explains in the Kyeongyang magazine the idea of the Easter appearances in the Gospel of John. She wants us to examine the word passover (meaning passage) and reflect on its meaning for us today.  If the Jews had not been able to 'passover' the situation they found themselves in, then freedom would have been impossible for them.

Courage was needed to overcome  slavery, faith was needed to overcome the ignorance concerning how best to deal with it, and strength of will was needed to accept the difficult years in the dessert, before arriving in the promised land. 

Christians are being asked at this time of year to passover to a faith in Jesus, who is the beginning and the end of our life. This requires that we move from the life of the dead to the life of those fully alive. This faith allows us to overcome the worries and fears that normally are present in every life, due to greed and selfishness, and to overcome estrangements and permit an openness to others.

Our Easter faith allows us to overcome the small self and embrace an affirming hope with courage. We tend to forget we have entered the Easter life, our immortal life, with our baptism, and that death no longer exists for us as Christians. This kind of thinking does not come easy, but with a firm resolve to passover to a life of faith in Jesus, we will come to understand what salvation and liberation should mean to us as Christians. Happy Easter.

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