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A time of hope

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Today is Easter Sunday, the greatest feast of the year for Christians who celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Congregations gather in churches around the world to hear once again the words from sacred texts that renew their faith and give hope of eternal life to them: “He is risen.” For Christians, it is a joyous day of renewal that marks Christ’s triumph over his death by crucifixion two days earlier on Good Friday as atonement for mankind’s sins.

In this natural cycle of change, Easter follows the season of Lent, a time of introspection and call to re-evaluate our personal lives to more closely follow in our everyday lives the teachings of the risen Christ proclaimed today.

As frequently happens, Easter coincides with the Jewish Passover, that also celebrates religious themes of renewal and enduring faith in a caring God. The eight-day Passover that ends Monday recalls the liberation of the Jewish people more than 3,000 years ago from the bondage in Egypt to freedom in their promised land under the leadership of Moses. For the Jewish people, this time recalls deliverance from slavery in a foreign land. For Christians it is a spiritual freedom from sin and death.

Although it has taken on secular trimmings, Easter arrives without weeks of frenzied shopping and commercial buildup.

Shopping for a new outfit and coloring eggs along with the communal Easter egg hunts for youngsters to enjoy have not overshadowed the religious nature of the holy day with its expressions of hope and salvation, of divine promises fulfilled and God’s love for his people.

The spiritual themes of Easter are reflected in nature as the daylight hours lengthen and temperatures slowly climb. Although winter has persisted, there is an air of expectation as we await the appearance of spring flowers to brighten our days and our thoughts turn to the outdoors, spring plantings and the greening of lawns and trees.

Hope, rebirth and renewal — universal themes for the day and season. Have a joyous Easter.

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