All Members, Winter Residents, Family and Friends,
He is Risen! Alleluia! Happy Easter and welcome to the Easter Season. For the next 6 weeks on the Church Calendar between now and Ascension Day May 24, 2020 we are in the Easter Season. Every Sunday is an Easter Sunday! A day of celebration and remembrance of the resurrection of Jesus Christ! Today is Easter Monday!
Here is some interesting history and information concerning Easter Monday! Easter Monday is a holiday in more than eighty different countries. In these countries people relax and celebrate on the day after EASTER. Unlike Easter day celebrations, however, the customs associated with Easter Monday place less emphasis on religious themes and more emphasis on having a good time.
In Central and Northern Europe people still enjoy a number of old folk customs- DOUSING, EGG ROLLING contests, EMMAUS WALKS , and SWITCHING -long associated with the holiday. In the Middle Ages, people celebrated Easter for an entire week. Historical records show that King Alfred the Great of England (849-899) decreed that labor should cease in the weeks before and after Easter Sunday. While solemn religious devotions dominated the week before Easter, light-hearted festivities reigned during the week after Easter. This period of time, called Easter Week, ended on the Sunday after Easter, which is known in English-speaking countries as Low Sunday or White Sunday. During this week, people feasted, played games, relaxed, and attended parties. The newly baptized continued to wear white clothing in celebration of their initiation into the Christian religion. This period of feasting and merry-making broke the sober mood that had been established during the six weeks of LENT, during which many people fasted, examined their consciences, and took up additional spiritual practices. In the centuries that followed the Middle Ages, the period of post-Easter festivity gradually shortened. In many countries today, just one day of celebration remains, Easter Monday.
Some of the customs associated with Easter Monday, such as DOUSING. In Hungary and Poland, an old custom encourages boys to douse girls with water on Easter Monday. In fact, the Hungarian folk name for the holiday translates as "Dousing Day. Folk tradition encouraged women to respond to this treatment by offering the men eggs, bread, or wine. Especially gracious women might offer all three.
EGG ROLLING games have a more logical link to Easter Monday, since Easter eggs are a symbol of the Easter holiday. The earliest records of egg rolling games in Europe date back to the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Christian folklore common to Orthodox and Protestant Christians views egg rolling as a symbol of the rolling away of the stone sealing Jesus in the tomb.
EMMAUS WALK is another custom of Easter Monday. The people of central Europe sometimes honor Easter Monday with an Emmaus Walk. These walks into the countryside for an outdoor meal symbolize the story of the first appearance of the risen Jesus as told in the Gospel According to Luke (Luke 24:13-35). In this account, Jesus appears to two of his former companions as the men journey on foot from Jerusalem to a small town called Emmaus. The three men talk about spiritual matters as they walk, and the stranger reveals heretofore hidden meanings in the scriptures to Jesus' followers. At the end of the journey, the men invite the inspiring stranger to spend the night and share a meal with them. When Jesus breaks bread with them, the men recognize the stranger as Jesus. In the same instant, Jesus disappears.
And finally SWITCHING. In central and northern Europe, some people observe Easter Monday by striking one another lightly with birch or willow wands. Folklorists refer to this custom as switching. In past times, custom permitted the boys to switch the girls on Easter Monday. The girls returned the favor on the following day, Easter Tuesday. This distinction has been abandoned in most places however, and both boys and girls practice the custom on Easter Monday.
I pray that these interesting facts about Easter Monday has taken your mind off of all the negative things you have been hearing and seeing in the news media.
Yesterday after the “Live Streaming” of our service I sat in my office and starting thinking about the strangeness of have Easter Sunday Worship with only a few people in the Sanctuary. This was not by choice, but rather one could say in compliance with an earnest desire to stop the spread of this COVID-19. I wrote on my Facebook page basically the following more or less. I am alone in my office following Easter Sunday Morning service. Normally Easter Sunday is filled with many faces, early sunrise service, Easter Breakfast, Holy Communion and great hymns and musical selections. Easter Sunday 2020 was different than any other Easter I have celebrated in 37 years of ministry and 63 years of life. Today I got a sense of what it must have been like for the first disciples that first Easter. They hid alone, in some place by themselves until the Word of Christ's Resurrection got to them. They too were afraid. When Jesus appears to them later Easter night, the first Words that Jesus says to them is "Don't be afraid." We need not fear, and sometimes we just need to let that settle in without any distractions. Easter 2020 was freed from distractions. No joyous celebrations, no family dinners, no visits from friends, no sporting events clamoring for our attention and participation, no appointments, no reservation times, nothing to distract us from the message of Easter. Just think about the Joy of the that first Easter, let that sink in for a time while you and your family are "Staying Home." He is Risen, He is Risen indeed! Alleluia.
While I was working on this email Susan brought in our New Acer Aspire 3 for use in improving our streaming to both YouTube and Facebook in the coming weeks. I have it charging now so that Rev. Olckers can come this week to set up our Sony Handy Cam to the internet. By live streaming to YouTube and our channel there anyone will be able to see it even those without Facebook accounts. We have been reaching people far beyond people we would normally have in church and for that we are grateful. It is my hope and prayer that some of the people we are connecting with through the internet will continue to check in with us each week even after we can go back to normal worship practices.
Respectfully In Christ,
Rev. Richard A. Norris, Pastor
Trinity Lutheran Church
25 Lakeview Street
Lake Placid, Florida 33852