“During times of economic bellyache, tobacco sales climb even as other sales tumble. Perhaps the uncertainty of finances makes people nervous: the nervousness causes them to smoke more. Perhaps a cigarette gives an unemployed man something to do with his hands. Maybe a pipe in his mouth helps a man forget that he hasn’t lately chewed steak.” – Tom Robbins
Man often turns to the Bible, the Tripiṭaka (Buddhist scripture) or the Koran, as solace when life gets a little dicey. Those who sincerely follow their chosen are the calm ones who tell you that God will bring you the answer through prayer, meditation and adherence to the scriptures.
Sunday was Easter as every around the world knows. Not the day when the bunny arrives with chocolate eggs but a reminder. First written about in 1682, the Easter Bunny, or Easter Hare, has some similarity to Santa Claus, and a basis in the Bible. Just as Claus is based on St. Nicholas, who had a reputation for secret gift-giving, the Easter Hare had some basic association with Christianity as well. According to Chris Chapman, in his ”The Three Hares Project” the Easter treats benefactor has long lost significance, too.
“The idea that a hare could reproduce without loss of virginity led to an association with the Virgin Mary, with hares sometimes occurring in illuminated manuscripts and Northern European paintings of the Virgin and Christ Child.”
But more likely, the hare may also have been associated with the Holy Trinity, as in the three hares motif, Kallistos Ware, and Orthodox Bishop aid in a lecture, “The ancient symbol of three hares or rabbits running in a circle and joined by their ears which form a triangle at the centre of the design. The symbol is a puzzle for each creature appears to have two ears yet, between them, they share only three ears. The implication being that in the Christian tradition, God is best imaged as a symbiotic community: Father, Son and Holy Spirit”
The three hares triangle is represented in everything from stain-glass windows in old cathedrals to watermarks in ancient religious texts and masons’ or carpenters’ signature marks. “This strange image,” Chapman wrote. “Had originated in Buddhist caves in China, made its way west along the Silk Road appearing on Islamic coins, and finally ended up being carved on the ceilings of churches in Devon, England.”
I find this bunny info extremely interesting. Why? You may say I spend too much time on Wikipedia. You may be right. But having been raised in the Catholic Church, the story of St. Nicholas, the kind old Greek Bishop who was so kind to children, intrigued me as a child. He cared about those around him and wanted to see people happy and healthy. I wonder if you heard your pastor speak about Easter in the context of the Easter Bunny.
For me, Easter has always meant spring has arrived, but sometimes Easter is so early that spring is the last thing on your mind. What determines the date of Easter each year? It deserves a Google. The early church fathers wished to keep the observance of Easter in correlation to the Jewish Passover because the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ happened after Passover. But later the western Christian Church used more scientific calculations as astronomers in 1583 were able to approximate the dates of all the full moons in future years and established a table of Ecclesiastical Full Moon dates. But easier to remember, Easter falls on the first Sunday after the first full moon following the spring equinox.
Spring has sprung, Easter is behind us and now many of us look forward to cleaning up our yards, planting gardens and preparing for summer. I, for one, have a lot of work to do around our house. I was pretty much out of commission last summer and the honey-do list has reached astronomical proportions. But the longer-warmer days are preferable to the wet and chilly days we’ve been experiencing lately.
Clubs and Boy Scouts are beginning to cleanup roadsides – watch those orange bags begin to line the roads. Those bags always make me think of how trashy some of us are. We toss our trash out of the window without regard for our neighbors and community. Linda and I live on a major short-cut and a least once a week we are picking up soda bottles and cups, empty cigarette packs and a times entire bags of fast-food discards.
As the Chester Farmer’s Market opens Saturday, seed is spread over patchy lawns and winter’s grime is removed, remember the meaning of Easter has to do with one man’s sacrifice for others. Think about sacrificing some of your time for others. Working in and for the betterment of our community involves more than one particular effort, it means efforts you can do to improve the quality of life for as many as you can.