Guest Author - Mary Ellen Sweeney
Easter in Ireland
Easter is the holiest day in the Irish spiritual calendar. Some may argue that Christmas is more profound because if Christ had not been born, He could not have Risen, but when I was a kid, I upset the whole family every year by crying my eyes out each and every Christmas. My poor parents always seemed to think that it was because there weren't enough presents under the tree, but I remember the reason, and it sure didn't start out as disappointment over presents---that came later when I learned to count. I was an only child for two years; I saw plenty of presents in my day, and ice cream too. No, I cried at Christmas for the poor Baby who was going to have such a tough time of it on my account. Ah, look at Him in the manger, so sweet, just like my own little brothers. Who wouldn't cry once they knew His future?
Now Easter, there's a proper Holy Day. All the suspense will be over soon, the darkness since the Christmas birth and the Good Friday death of the Child whose message of love, whatever your beliefs, has unalterably changed the world. The Spring Solstice at Newgrange always makes me think of the Light as the cave opened that first Easter morning.
Easter in Ireland is a glorious thing, there's no doubt about it. The air itself carries gaiety---it's like it has an extra molecule of oxygen; it's intoxicating. The chapped lips have started to heal, the noses to dry up a bit, and the weary woolens can be forgotten. The earth itself is breaking open with new life. Daffodils and gorse and green all together; does it matter if it rains?
The week leading up to Easter is time full of rituals and traditions. Whatever religious affiliation or non-affiliation, Easter seems to be the reason for Spring, and Ireland does seem to have a special handle on Spring itself. How could a country that boasts forty shades of green have anything but an amazing springtime spectacle? Every church in the country celebrates this season most exuberantly, and it is a joy for any that will have it.
It is so easy, now in these turbulent times in the churches, all of them it seems…the Judeo-Christian-Muslim complex, anyway…to withdraw from the Establishment and turn sad and sour and bitter over what we humans do to each other, especially those who speak in the name of our Creator. That, however, is the antithesis of Creation. As we witness the Resurrection of Life all around us, breathe and make peace with nature. It is neither good nor evil; it just works.
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