Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — Can you feel it? The gentle breezes of springtime and the promise of warmer weather.
Can you see it? The earth transitioning from the long, deep sleep of winter, to the sweet awakening of life all around us: the return of the music of songbirds, pussy willows bursting forth their fuzzy heads along the walkways of parks, the cry of the sea gulls and the lingering length of daylight.
Can you sense it? The approaching of Easter, celebrating the resurrection of Christ, leading to life everlasting in his name.
Around the world, nations couple this holiday with symbols of blessings and life — soft, furry bunnies, baby chicks, colorful Easter eggs, butter lambs, hot crossed buns, crosses and chocolate everywhere.
Easter has long been one of my favorite holidays, and traditions have always been a part of helping me to focus my heart on God’s amazing love. From giving up something for Lent to coloring a rainbow of Easter Eggs, from fasting during Holy Week to feasting at Easter breakfast after a bright and early “Sonrise” service, from the mournful silence of Good Friday to the exuberance praise of Easter Sunday, complete with Easter lilies around the church altar, these traditions are powerful, symbolic reminders of Christ’s death and resurrection, all done for the love of humankind. In my opinion as a believer in Christ, traditions that point us to God’s love, and remind us of his amazing grace, are worth keeping. They help us to anticipate Easter.
This coming Sunday is traditionally recognized as Palm Sunday, commemorating Jesus’s triumphal entry into the city of Jerusalem. It also marks the beginning of Holy Week, remembering and recognizing the Passion of Christ. Countless churches will distribute palm branches in remembrance of this exciting occasion.
In years past, while serving as a church music director, I have produced Easter musicals in which this procession was staged through the church center aisle, always with lots of pageantry and joyful shouts of “Hosanna” as described in Biblical passages. One year, as part of the Palm Sunday service, we had a teen sign language choir choreographed to Kirk Franklin’s song “Hosanna,” ending with scores of children proceding from the back of the sanctuary, waving palm branches in celebration of the day.