Pastor David Eisenhuth
It is said that most people’s earliest childhood memories are of things that happened between the ages of two and five. Memories can be auditory (hearing), visual (seeing), or olfactory (smelling). My first memory is of the olfactory kind. Let me describe it.
I remember being in the First Congregational Church in Minersville, Pennsylvania. I was under one of the pews. Yes, I was playful—naughty if you wish—even then. The pastor was speaking. Suddenly the power of the flowers that decorated the sanctuary that morning became so strong as to divert my attention from whatever I was doing and thinking. In my mind’s eye, or in this case nose, I remember that solitary moment very well. I crawled up to see what kind of flowers they were. Of course, they were lilies. It was Easter Sunday.
How old I was at the time I do not know. But that experience is ingrained in my memory. To this day, the scent of a lily will bring back that moment, frozen in time. The past becomes real for me on Easter Sunday.
What do you think the women who went to the tomb early in the morning that first Easter remembered? Could it have been the brightness of another day in Palestine? Could it have been the sight of the stone rolled back from the tomb that they expected to find sealed? Might it have been the angel who, at least in one Gospel account, greets them with the incredible news that Jesus was not there? Maybe it was a look into the tomb and the sight and scent of the now-abandoned grave clothes?
Whatever they experienced, you can rest assured that it was ingrained in their memories for all time. Of course, they would experience many things from that point on. They would enjoy the real presence of Christ appearing to them several times before his ascension. Then there would be Pentecost, 50 days after the resurrection.
What is your recollection of Easter? What brings to mind the Easters of past years? Are they strong enough to make a connection between the past and present? May they be strong enough to allow you to look into the future.
Easter Day was for the first witnesses a turning point in their lives. I pray, as we experience the powerful drama of another Easter, you will enjoy the flowers, the beautiful paraments, the wonderful music. But it is the words of the narrative that strike with such power at the heart of who we are. How can you but hear the story of that first, new day of life for Jesus and his followers, then and now, without feeling a shudder of disbelief and yet incredible joy.
We were so pleased to have a special event on Easter. Finn Michael James Williams received the Sacrament of Holy Baptism at our unity service at 9 a.m. Finn is the child of Lindsay (Gorsuch) and Kevin Williams. He was born on Friday, October 13. The fact that he was with us to receive the gift of Baptism was a miracle—the story of which we heard as part of the sermon. Miracles abounded at our celebration of Jesus’ resurrection.
The lilies smelled great, but hear these words and believe: “He is not here! He has risen from the grave!” To this we add our alleluias!