The reporter wandered around the streets of an American city this week with a camera and microphone, asking folks what Easter was all about. Older folks seemed to do well on this little pop quiz, however; younger folks, not so much. One of the respondents thought Easter was all about candy and a rabbit and several had no idea. Theologians will tell you this is consistent with what they are seeing today, with the sharp decline in church memberships centered around younger people who have an aversion to being “members” of anything organized. Our political leadership isn’t helping with the decline in Christianity, removing God from so many aspects of life in it’s effort to accommodate forms of faith embraced by the folks streaming into our country from non-Christian societies. Church attendance will nearly double tomorrow as the closet Christians emerge and make their annual pilgrimage to a nearby church to celebrate the Resurrection of Christ.
When you are retired, you depend less on a calendar and more on what is actually happening around you. Easter for folks who are tied to nature signals many things beyond the star attraction of the Resurrection. It is believed the Dogwood tree was once tall, straight and stately before it became twisted and anything but straight. It is believed to have been the wood that formed the cross that Christ was crucified upon. The tree was never to be straight again. It’s flowers are in the shape of a cross with red hues in the center of each bloom, signifying the blood shed from the nailing of the Messiah to the cross. Old fisherman, and I am one, rely on the blooming Dogwood to signify the beginning of the crappie spawn, a spring ritual that results in nice limits of these delicious fish for the fryer.
The Dogwood blooms are also indicative of Missouri wild mushroom season, another delicacy when rolled in cracker crumbs and sautéed in butter. These spring rituals are associated with the turkey mating season. It is around this time that amorous old Toms can be talked into the range of your shotgun. There are various “Grand Slams” in the hunting world when a series of game harvests are noted as such. To an old Hillbilly like me, a grand slam is a morning turkey, mess of mushrooms and an afternoon basket of crappie. If you catch the scent of freshly turned farm fields as your pursue the rewards of this season, well, it can’t possibly get any better.
So it is that I believe the Master chose Spring to announce His plan for the salvation of sinners, and sacrificed his Son so that we can be guaranteed acceptance into his Kingdom. To celebrate this special time of the year, He gave us a number of spring rituals that are unaffected by the machinations of mankind, all of which can be enjoyed with basic, rudimentary devices and our senses. These rituals are unlocked by the miracle of the Easter resurrection.
Easter. A wonderful time of the year for Christians. If you are not one, the door is open. Think about these things when you see a flowering Dogwood. It’s significance is more than you might imagine……
Have a great Easter!