In last week’s column, I wrote about the challenges faced by all of us over the last year dealing with the COVID-19 challenges. It dealt with the tragic loss of loved ones, and the feeling of isolation felt by many, not only here in our own nation, but around the world.
A global crisis has gripped nations and cultures around the world. It therefore seems appropriate that Christianity is poised to celebrate one of the most joyous of its holidays, as a large percentage of the Christian world prepares to turn their thoughts to the Resurrection of Jesus, the Son of God, this Sunday.
The Orthodox branch of Christianity will celebrate Orthodox Easter on May 2 due to the use of the Julian calendar to determine its holy days. The remainder of Christianity uses the Gregorian calendar, and will celebrate April 4.
The purest meaning of Easter is the celebration of Christ’s rising from the dead and his ascension into Heaven. His resurrection serves as the foundation of Christianity. It represents a second chance for humanity and an opportunity for all who believe to follow Him when the time comes to sit with the Father in Heaven.
These are especially trying times throughout the world and within our own nation, so we certainly need to work better together in the efforts to bridge the gaps of understanding, internationally, nationally and right here within our community.
Islanders throughout the year certainly show their humanity in providing for those in need, and have led by example in many ways. The wonderful efforts of organizations such as the Kiwanis, Rotary, Lions, Knights of Columbus, St. Vincent de Paul, Our Daily Bread Food Pantry, the Mobile Food Pantry and those wonderful citizens who came together through various organizations to help those challenged trying to get appointments for the COVID-19 Vaccine.
Thanks also go out to the many health care professionals and first responders who have placed their lives in jeopardy to do their jobs in spite of this terrible virus. All of these outstanding groups and professionals who helped so many in their times of need represent the values that Christ preached to guide us to a better world.
The shame of all of this is that we should be concentrating on these good thoughts and deeds throughout the year – not just during holiday periods, but 365 days a year. I’m not so naïve as to believe everyone around us might share a similar mindset, so we as a nation and a people must stay strong to support our values and our beliefs.
Under normal circumstances, this weekend we would see thousands of our residents and visitors migrate to the beach for what has become a wonderful Easter Sunrise Service tradition. This event was organized by the many churches on the island and brought out the best within our wonderful clergy from all parishes on the island.
This year, out of an abundance of caution, the event has been postponed to next year, when it will resume the wonderful tradition that brings out the best in all of us. This year, individual houses of worship will welcome you personally into their physical facilities, while taking appropriate precautions to protect you and your families. Some will go one step further and beam their messages of hope and faith through electronic means to the safety of your homes. Check with your place of worship for details.
For myself, the Resurrection of Christ serves as the rebirth of hope within humanity – a belief that good things will happen with faith. Those two words seem intrinsically linked, for without faith can hope exist? That probably is a question for someone better versed in the matter than I am. And doesn’t it always bring us back to the fact that we have been asked by a Higher Power to have faith in those words that were penned into the most famous of books ever written.
Myself, I have faith in those words, and in each and every one of you to rise to the challenges facing our generation, while wishing you all the most joyous and hope-filled message for better times ahead.