Monday, April 9, 2012

Why is he holding an egg?

"Blessed is he who has found his work; let him ask no other blessedness." - Carlyle

"What magnificent fun to be engaged in work which can do so much for so many and where our personal contribution counts for so much.  Give your will, mind, and heart to each great cause in which you are involved.  Though we in this profession represent a diverse group, we are joined together in a calling of tremendous consequence.

"Very few in a lifetime are given the opportunity to make such a substantial difference to society. We are bestowed that role and accept the challenge.

"The immense good we do diminishes the agony of the long hours and disappointments.  There are peaks and valleys, but we remember most the peaks.  We glorify the high leaps.  We celebrate the barrier-breaking new horizons we make possible.  We love our work, and we are sustained and cheered in knowing how immense our contribution is.  We are truly the blessed, fortunate enough to be in this business.  We are the veritable soldiers of change."  
                                                Jerry Panas

To everyone who attended the "Invitation to Freedom" fundraiser on Saturday - please accept my gratitude for a wonderful evening.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Is Easter better than Christmas?

Growing up in an agnostic household, I considered Easter to be a minor holiday.  It sufficed as an excuse to eat candy and go to grandma's for dinner, but it was otherwise unremarkable.  The Easter bunny was a Santa wannabe - perhaps an apprentice to Santa, who was the head holiday honcho.

Make no mistake, I still thought Easter was great.  Any holiday in which the lead role was played by a bigger-than-life altruistic rabbit that delivered baskets of goodies while my sister and I weren't looking trumped the several holidays without such characters.  Easter may have been a shadow Christmas, but it was an improvement over St. Patrick's day, Valentine's day or even Halloween.

Now that I'm a bit older and I have come to a better understanding of the significance of the holidays, I wonder if Easter may not be better in some ways than Christmas as a celebration that can be enjoyed by people of all faiths.

Spring has long been recognized as a time of renewal and rebirth.  It is the time that Persephone returns from her stint as Queen of the Underworld, assuaging her mother's grief and allowing crops to grow once again.  In Egyptian mythology, it is the time that Osiris is reborn.  Many of the symbols that attend the Easter celebration are symbols of fertility and birth.

In my view, however, the Christian celebration of Easter is far more poignant than these other tales.  It is a celebration of the immortality of the spirit - and a demonstration that the spirit lives on, regardless of persecution, abandonment by friends and bodily death.

Holidays are an opportunity for all of us to reflect on the "higher truths."  They give us a chance to lift our heads above the mundane and give some thought to the themes we are creating in our own lives.  What with the intense advertising and expectation that accompanies Christmas, the holiday hardly allows time for reflection.  For this reason, I can't think of a better holiday to give serious thought to such themes as spiritual immortality and the chance at our own "rebirth" from our current condition into a better state than Easter.

Please join me April 7th at 6:30 at our new auditorium.  We will start the evening with snacks, followed by a gospel choir and a further exploration of the concepts I've started to discuss here; and we will end with a round of fundraising to benefit the renovations of our new building.  I promise you will have a great time listening to incredible music, seeing the new auditorium, being with your friends and hopefully learning a thing or two along the way.

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