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Sunday, March 27, 2016




Easter Sunday. 9:00 AM.  33 degrees F at the ferry dock, 31 on the back porch.  Wind NNE, calm with occasional light to moderate gusts.  The sky is overcast, there is heavy fog over the channel and the Islands, and it is snowing hard.  The humidity is 96% and the barometer is steady, at 30.05".  We have another 3" of wet snow on the ground.  It is sticky, slushy stuff.  We will likely get lake effect snow until it warms up, as there is no ice left on the nearby waters to block evaporation.  I'm going to let the snow melt.  Nature put it there, Nature can get rid of it.
   Rather than going to Ashland for Easter morning services, we attended The Great Vigil of Easter at our little Christ Church here in Bayfield.  It was a beautiful, very traditional service, with the vigil fire burning on the church steps, and candles lit from it for the candlelight service.  
   The service included the tale of the Israelite's escape from bondage in Egypt on the first Passover, and the destruction of the Egyptian army and all its chariots in the waters of the Red Sea;  a powerful and apocryphal telling of the first Passover, which is of course the precedent of the Christian Easter and the story of Jesus' death and resurrection, and the Christian hope for freedom, forgiveness and victory over death.
   For far too many nominal or used-to-be Christians, the powerful, iconic traditions of the church have been replaced with Santa Clause and the Easter Bunny.  Is it any wonder that the Church is in decline?
   Traditions are necessary to our faith and our lives, and convenient trivialities cannot replace them.  
A case in point: within my own lifetime, the Catholic church abandoned the obligation of a meatless Friday, which even non-Catholics routinely observed.  The end result is that millions of people still go out for Friday night fish fry, but have abandoned church on Sunday.  There are many other such consequences of the abandonment of Christian church traditions. The religious abandonment of traditions has its secular counterpart in America in the abandonment of the Pledge of Allegiance in public schools.  How can kids know what they should be loyal to growing up, without it?
    Thankfully for Joan and I, the Episcopal church still retains most of the ancient Christian traditions.
   Have a Happy Easter.  Say hello to the Easter Bunny as he hops down the bunny trail, and collect some colored eggs with the kids.
   But, remember the awesome traditions that preceded the childish.

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