To my Christian friends and loved ones, I wish a Happy Easter! May your day be filled with alleluias.
In honor of the season, I'll link back to something I wrote and shared here in 2009, a post about two Easter services (one in 2003, one in 2009) at a local Episcopal church. Here's a taste:
What I remember of that Easter service: one of the acolytes had bright yellow streamers on a tall bendy rod, which he waved over the community as he processed down the aisle. Everyone wore their Easter best, including pastel hats on some of the ladies and frilly dresses on some of the little girls. The rector's sermon included verses from Rumi, and at the end, when he concluded with the words "will you rise?" we were all so moved that we took his question as a rhetorical/spiritual one, not a literal invitation to stand.
Many Jews have inchoate feelings of apprehension about Easter. The liturgy of Holy Week (with its story of Jesus' death, blamed on the Jews until the late 20th century) has historically sparked anti-Jewish violence at this season. Accusations that Jews tortured Christian children and/or used their blood for making our Passover matzot resulted in Eastertide violence against Jews in England in the twelfth century (see The Life and Miracles of St. William of Norwich), Lisbon in the sixteenth century (the Easter Massacre) and the twentieth century (the First Kishinev Pogrom.) (For more on this history, read Why Some Jews Fear the Passion at Christianity Today.) It can be hard to shed the collective memory of these stories.
But whatever of that was dormant in me, six years ago, was washed away that Easter morning and replaced with a renewed awareness of how sweet it can be to be (in Reb Zalman's terms) a "spiritual peeping Tom," looking to see how other people "get it on with God."
You can read the whole post here: A field trip into Easter.