By The Reverend Dr. William A. Evertsberg
This year Easter falls on April Fool’s Day, an irresistible coincidence for the Christian preacher (the sermon title is April’s Fool).
Easter is a moveable feast which can arrive as early as March 22 or as late as April 25, but early or late, it is always proximate to the spring equinox.
Easter is a spring holiday because its origins are in two older springtime festivals: the Jewish Passover, always the 15th of the springtime month of Nisan, the day after Jesus died and the day before he rose, and the pagan festival of Eostre, the Anglo-Saxon goddess of spring.
It’s great timing, right? You could hardly celebrate Easter in December, when all is cold and dark and dead. We celebrate Jesus’ resurrection just as intrepid crocuses and snowdrops tunnel up through their earthen prisons. Migratory birds have come home to fill the air with song. The small mammals that make their home in the ‘burbs are very active just now. The other day Jennifer Bishop reminded me to keep Dudley on a leash: skunk season.
On more than one occasion I’ve mentioned my admiration for the novels and stories of Jim Harrison, most famous for Legends of the Fall. Jim was born in Grayling, Michigan, raised in Reed City, and earned two degrees from Michigan State University.
Many of his stories are set in Northern Michigan, including The River Swimmer, whose 17-year-old protagonist gets it into his head to swim from Muskegon to Chicago; he jumps in Lake Michigan one morning from a Muskegon beach, makes it to Saugatuck the first night and Gary the second before pulling up on Meigs Island the third day to see the Big City on the Third Coast.
In True North, Mr. Harrison’s narrator writes,
I began to question if I still believed in Christ’s resurrection and decided after two hours that I did. Anything was possible on an earth that creates for itself such a fabulous landscape of forests, swamps, and rivers…The real miracle is that the world exists.
Please join us at 6:30, 8, 9, or 10:30 a.m. on Sunday, April 1 to celebrate the twin miracles of creation and resurrection.