For a few days earlier this week, we thought the Easter Bunny would have to wear earmuffs and arrive on a pair of skis this Sunday.
Spring arrived on the calendar last week, but the snow that floated down in big fat flakes on Monday, covering lawns and bushes, seemed not to know.
The month’s long stretch of bone-chilling weather with brisk winds has disrupted the spring sports at many area high schools. Practices for baseball and softball, especially, have had to be held indoors because the fields are still frozen. Early games were canceled rather than risk injury to the players.
For many of us, Old Man Winter cannot exit fast enough. The temperatures that have crossed north of 50 over the last few days are teasing us into thinking about the Phillies opener, the crack of the bat at the ballpark and warm sunshine on our shoulders.
All of this comes to mind this week as two major religions celebrate holy days that embrace gratitude and hope. The holidays of Passover and Easter bookend the week.
On Monday night, Jews in the Northeast and around the world sat down for Seders that gave gratitude for their ancestors’ freedom from slavery. They read from Jewish texts, Haggadot, that contain the order of the Seder, the blessings and the songs. The grownups and often the children seem to know the Hebrew by heart.
For Christians, this week marks the final days of Lent, a time of waiting and sacrifice. Christians remember Jesus’ last days on Earth and reflect with gratitude on his sacrifice for their sins. Maundy Thursday services are among the most solemn on the Christian calendar. Some churches end their services by turning out the lights, and parishioners leave in darkness.
Then comes Good Friday, the day of Jesus’ death on the cross, and finally the joy of his resurrection. Who can hear sopranos in a church choir sing “King of Kings,” from Handel’s Messiah Chorus on Easter morning, and not think about entering the gates of heaven?
We wanted to pause a moment in this hectic week to wish all our readers — Christians, Jews, those who are spiritual and those who are not — a happy spring. We also wanted to encourage those who are without a faith home to try a new place of worship. You will be surprised at how warmly you will be welcomed, and we predict the hope and gratitude you sense in the air will feel like the breath of spring. ••