POINT PLEASANT — Members of the Point Pleasant Writers Guild met recently and shared their thoughts on Easter. As the primary celebration of the Christian Church, Easter has evolved over the centuries to “fit the taste of everyone,” from joyously celebrating the resurrection of Christ to enjoying a chocolate Easter bunny found in most homes around this time. Greeting cards shared with friends and loved ones may picture an open, empty tomb reflecting the power of God or fuzzy, yellow chicks surrounded by colorful eggs, scenes from more pagan origins, of which most people have long forgotten.
But not so, Phil Heck, whose research contained much background on the holiday, or rather, holidays, that occur, or have occurred, around the same time that we call Easter. For example, the word Easter was taken from Eostre, a West Germanic spring goddess, bearing the name of the Germanic month equivalent to our month of April. Pagan Anglo-Saxons held feasts in her honor at the Spring Equinox, celebrating reproduction in the plant and animal world, thus the flowers, bunnies, chicks, and eggs that are so prominent in Easter decorations today. Also, depending on the Jewish calendar, it is the time of Passover, celebrated the world over by Jews in remembrance of their deliverance from slavery in Egypt. It was a Friday, three or so hours prior to the beginning of the Jewish Sabbath and also their Passover, when Jesus, himself a Jew, died from being crucified for claiming to be the Son of God. Three days later, on a Sunday morning, He was resurrected and appeared to His followers, victorious over death and the devil.
Will Jeffers, on the other hand, tapped into his vast imagination as he read his short story, “An Easter Retelling,” in which, reminiscent of “Alice in Wonderland,” a ten-year-old child follows a rabbit into his underground home and is treated to hot tea and cookies while Mr. E. Rabbit, Esquire shares the real story of Easter, careful to add that, while one is young, before age and responsibilities cause childhood beliefs to dim, it is OK to believe in a rabbit that goes around passing out candy and trinkets.
Marilyn Clarke decided that she had, over the years, written all she can think of to write about Easter, but at the thought of a shopping trip on Good Friday to purchase something to wear on Easter, an idea for a new book began to fill her mind. In her story, while her main character is browsing the racks for a new dress, she observes a young girl who starts out looking rather thin, but after every trip to the dressing room, she seems to put on more and more weight. Putting two and two together, the main character senses that the young girl is in trouble, perhaps a runaway, and is in need of an older woman’s guidance and support. Clarke entitled her story-maybe-a-book-in-the-making “Finding Rachel.”
Kris Moore read her memoir about her Easter tree. Following Christmas one year, she hadn’t felt like taking down the Christmas tree — for months. By the time Easter rolled around, it was still up and she was expecting the grandchildren to visit in a short while. With no time left to get creative, she decided to convert the Christmas tree into an Easter tree. After removing the Christmas ornaments and tinsel, Kris then took colored plastic eggs meant for an Easter egg hunt, placed them on the tree, added Easter grass and a few other enhancements, and waited to see what the grandchildren would think about it. Needless to say, they were delighted.
Patrecia Gray had done some research on Easter eggs. They had been used in games during Medieval Times. A more modern tradition of Easter has been that of buying a new outfit to wear to church on Easter Sunday Morning. Gray shared a story, “The Old man and the Sticks.” A man had sons who were always fighting one another. He showed how a bundle of sticks cannot be broken, whereas single sticks are easily broken. The moral of the story was that sticking together makes a stronger union. Elm and Birch rods, tied together, called Fasces, was the symbol of the Roman Empire. Jews of Jerusalem, during the life of Christ, were under the rule of Rome. Their priests saw Jesus as a threat to the good thing they had going with the Romans (the Romans turned a blind eye to the priests who had turned the Temple into a market place providing much profit for their treasury), so they conspired to have Him arrested as a heretic of the Jewish faith and head of a revolutionary group intending to overthrow Caesar.
Sue Underwood read a short verse, “It’s Spring,” in which she describes the beauty of Daffodils, Dogwood trees, and the return of Robins, all signs of resurrection as Spring brings back life and light to the world. Although as a kid, wearing a new dress and hunting eggs were happy times, Sue reminded the group that the true meaning of Easter is about the crucifixion, burial, and resurrection of Jesus.
April Pyles related her first remembrance of Easter as walking with her mother to an Easter Sunrise Service when she was about four years old. She also read her favorite scripture on Easter, John 20:11-18, in which Mary Magdalene has come to the empty tomb on the morning of the first day of the week following Christ’s death on the cross. She asks a man she thinks is a gardener if he knows where the body of Jesus has been taken. And the man, who is actually the risen Christ, says her name, “Mary.” Now she fully turns to look him in the face and recognizes him as Jesus. April asked the group to consider what it will be like to hear Jesus call us by name when we meet Him face to face, and to consider how Mary must have felt to see Jesus alive after having seen Him die. Are there any words that can describe the joy of that moment?
Heather “Raine” Fielder has one of her poems, “My Beloved,” included in the Maranatha Cornerstone Easter Cantata this year. It was Fielder’s opinion that there are not enough words to describe how Christ’s resurrection is the best thing to have happened in world events.
In addition to those already named, the meeting was attended by Carol Newberry.
The Point Pleasant Writers Guild meets from noon to 2 p.m. on the First and Third Wednesdays of the month, in the Conference Room at the Mason County Library on Viand Street. All writers are invited to attend and share their work. Critiquing is optional. For further information, email us at [email protected] or visit: ppwritersguild.blogspot.com.
Submitted by April Pyles.