For Christians in the New York metropolis and throughout the world, Easter represents a holiday of renewal, of hope. For Christians Easter is the most meaningful day on the calendar.
Reverend James Forbes, senior minister emeritus of the Riverside Church, told me: "Easter is about the triumph of life. Out of struggle, conflict and even moments of destruction, life emerges. "
Easter, he added, "is a time when all of us look to our traditions --how do we bring spiritual values to our lives. Amidst terror, tyranny and fear, what gives us hope. All of this is about Easter. It makes us us want to keep pressing on."
Dr. Forbes has been called "the preachers’ preacher" because of what is regarded as his distinguished preaching career and his style. He is the co-chair of Partnership of Faith, an interfaith group of Protestant, Catholic, Jewish and Muslim clergy.
Easter celebrates the major event of the Christian religion: the resurrection of Christ three days after his crucifixion.
Here in New York the spirit of giving is in the air. Among the events in celebration of Easter are: a soup and bread Haiti relief fundraiser at the Cathedral Basilica of St. James; a women’s business luncheon benefiting the Coalition for the Homeless’s women’s job training program; a run in Central Park to raise money to fight lung cancer; a rally of women against violence.
For New Yorkers of every faith Easter week heralds the arrival of spring and, as Dr. Forbes said, it’s a time of hope. Walk through Central Park, where the buds adorn the branches of the trees, and the scent of blossoms is in the air. There is hope here and the promise of better things to come.
As Henry Wadsworth Longfellow put it, "the full-blossomed trees fill all the air with fragrance and with joy."
Easter in New York, 2010. A time of renewal and hope.