This divine day: Happy Easter to all

Published 4:06 pm Saturday, March 31, 2018


If Easter changes your life this weekend — it might, as it might every year — it won’t be because of the weather — pretty much perfect — the Easter eggs — dark chocolate, please — or your Easter bonnet or other fine threads.

It will be because of what is said or done or experienced on this, the first Sunday after the full moon after the vernal equinox on March 21. It may come in the first pew for early risers or standing along the wall of a dark, packed church at vigil, slightly in the way of the ushers.

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It may come at St. Anthony Cathedral Basilica in Beaumont or in the parish hall at St. Joseph’s in Port Arthur, where the congregation returned Saturday night for the first time since the August storms.

It may come at First Baptist in Nederland or at Sabine Pass Methodist or at Historic Israel AME Church in Port Arthur. Easter, the season and the day, can lend existential solace or personal peace or religious reawaking or, in general, joy that resonates through one’s heart or in one’s whole family.

Greater Port Arthur and Mid County churches have shared the joy and commitment that’s central to the Christian faith since Ash Wednesday and especially during the past week. South East Texans have not lost their capacity for faith and hope, if packed church parking lots provide an indication.

Sometimes our attention wanders, even in the Easter season, as we become distracted by the glitter of the world around us. Not all of it is necessarily bad: The Easter bunny has roamed the U.S. for three centuries, a tradition delivered into our baskets by the Germans in Pennsylvania. Some folks see the Easter egg as a reflection on resurrection, breaking open the tomb, and the promise of new life. Even “hot cross buns,” one website tells us, bear a cross of icing to remind people of Christ. Well, OK.

Christians encounter God through diverse paths and their viewpoints and expressions reflect that. Scientist and mystic Pierre Teilhard de Chardin — he still inspires his brother Jesuits, vexes undergraduates — prays of Christ as “diffused in the heart of matter,” with “power as implacable as the world” and “as warm as life.”

Lutherans, meanwhile, look to the cross for redemption when they pray:

“Grant us your unworthy servants, what you have promised to all alike: that Your Passion may be our deliverance, Your Wounds our healing, Your Cross our redemption, Your Death our life; and that as You were raised upon the Cross we may be lifted up to your Father … .”

We hope Easter will be all our readers hoped for, that they may find on this divine day all the fulfillment it promises.