Faith Filter

Faith Filter: Hunting for the meaning of Easter

March 31, 2014 

Liza Weidle.

  • If you go

    Ambassador Presbyterian Church will host an Easter festival and egg hunt that is open to the public from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturday, April 12, at 1010 Schieffelin Road, Apex.

    Activities are free and include inflatables, carnival games, crafts and a hot dog lunch. For more information, call 919-249-0230 or go to http://ambassadorpres.org. In case of bad weather, the festival will be held April 19.

Thousands of eggs will be hidden, and children will go on the hunt.

Many local towns host egg hunts in anticipation of Easter Sunday.

In Holly Springs, organizers are combining an egg hunt with a yard sale and games at Sugg Farm Park on Saturday, April 12.

Raleigh organizers are bucking the traditional jelly-bean treats by offering healthy snacks in “Eco Eggs” that are BPA free and can be used for compost.

A new Cary event is the Egg Hunt Spectacular for ages 55 and older. The event, scheduled for April 17, includes a prize for the best bonnet.

Is there no end to the eggcitement?

My shoes may be a little too tight or maybe my head is not screwed on right (borrowing loosely from Dr. Seuss), but this year’s Easter hype seems to be all about a rush to get the goodies without a pause to remember the purpose for the holiday.

Searching to bring our family back to the meaning of Easter, I was drawn to the sermons my grandfather, Whitford Frank Walters, wrote during his time as a pastor in eastern North Carolina.

Grandpa Whit was 18 when he preached his first sermon to YMCA members in 1903 at a small gathering in Statesville, Ohio. About 20 years later, he joined the North Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church and served the remainder of his life in ministry.

Grandpa died long before I was born. But through the sermons that he left behind, many hand-written on scraps of paper, I catch glimmers of his sweet spiritual life.

Grandpa’s sermon “Christ, the way to God” is filled with his thoughts on why Jesus had to die in such a brutal way.

“The cross was inevitable because of the sinful world in which he lived,” wrote Grandpa. “Jesus could not compromise and be true to his purpose.”

I am not sure what Grandpa would think about the hype of the holiday. I do think he would be proud of the work area churches do to turn the frenzy into a time to draw in the community.

The Easter festival at Ambassador Presbyterian Church in Apex is now in its 15th year and is considered a front-porch ministry.

“Easter is a celebration of life in Christ, and the looks you see on the faces of the young children at this event are a great expression of that life – joy, wonder, excitement. It’s all there,” said Dan Layman, associate pastor for Ambassador and leader of the church’s Easter outreach effort.

John Finocchiaro leads the effort to follow up with families who participate in the Easter events at Ambassador.

“I love being part of a church that wants to be connected to the community around us and goes to such great lengths to welcome people to Ambassador,” said Finocchiaro, who lives in Fuquay-Varina with his wife and two children.

No matter what approach you take to Easter, the life of Christ and the cross can be a part of the discussion.

In my neighborhood, we are planning an egg hunt followed by an activity in which children will color ornaments for an Easter tree. Parents will hear from Cary resident and author Jean Fisher as she shares from her video blogs and daily devotions about the Easter Tree Project ( www.theEastertree.com).

liza@lizaweidle.com

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