Pam Rhodes shares Easter reflections

“When I’m afflicted, poor and low, and light and peace depart, my God beholds my heavy woe, and bears me on his heart. I waited patient for the Lord, he bowed to hear my cry, He saw me resting on his word, and brought salvation nigh.”
(Based on Psalm 40/a hymn by William Bradley Roberts)

Once again our blessed Easter season is upon us. As I get older it seems the months and years go so fast, (and my grandchildren are growing at a dizzying pace). So it goes with the seasons of the church calendar. It seems we just finished Advent and Epiphany, now it’s Lent and soon Easter.

Remembering Easter as a child, surely I look back on Easter egg hunts, chocolate and of course a new Easter outfit. While I certainly loved the idea of a new hat and gloves, my poor mom invariably argued with my brother about wearing his good clothes to church (meaning no jeans or logging boots—they usually agreed on the salt and pepper corduroys!!) One year we even got live bunnies for which my poor father had to build a cage. Oy vey!! At that time my family did not attend church on a regular basis, but the seeds of a life with Jesus were planted, we always attended on Easter. Easter was like the “new year’s resolution” to the church—we promised to do better.

My early church years were at Christ Episcopal in north Tacoma. The worship was always pageantry; the banners, the choir, the prayers in Latin, the incense—and the people, the community of faith. The parish of Christ Church was connected by life’s ups and downs, their struggles and pain, but also their solidarity and joy in Jesus. It was a togetherness that forged a spiritual goal in me. This early experience laid the seeds of faith. The steadfast people of the Episcopal church offered a ‘grounding’ that holds families together—even though there were no easy answers to life’s difficulties.

This March the vestry gathered for a retreat. I am very proud to serve with our dedicated members in this group. There is diversity in our ages and in our church and spiritual experiences, but through all of us runs a common thread. We have sometimes walked through the soul’s dark night with devastating and life-changing events and eventually we were led back to God. Many times we doubted His presence but the seeds of our faith held us in His embrace. Whether it was a Baptist, Catholic, Mormon or an Episcopal tradition, many of us had that early church experience. It stands to reason that Jesus would bring us to where we are today. And as Father Martin would say, “For reasons we may not fully understand.”

To borrow an excerpt from our Lenten booklet, “Lent is a return to the beginning and a look to beyond the end. During this unique time, we follow the Way of the Cross. The cross is that unique sign that connects God with the entire world for all time. I give thanks to God for the deep significance of Lent: connection, togetherness, solidarity and hope in Jesus our Redeemer.” We go in peace, to love and serve the Lord.

Blessings to all this Easter.