Thoughts of Easter

By , on April 1, 2013


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MY THOUGHTS of Easter are associated with the most seemingly random of things: egg-hunting at the grounds of the White House when I was 7 years old; it was the Carter administration, and Jimmy’s daughter, Amy, used to host an annual egg-hunt for kids of government officials. My unmarried aunt worked for the World Bank. I was the lucky “daughter.”

Spending my Easter weekend at the age of 11 at the Easter Parade in Sydney, Australia. We flew out on a Thursday, back on a Sunday night. Just in time for school the next day. What can I say? My mother worked with Philippine Airlines and tickets back then were virtually free for senior employees.

Putting on cantata after cantata, what with 15 years of service in a born-again Christian Church as part of my curriculum vitae. I was in charge of the theatre ministry, and Easter usually meant dealing with choirs and their 4-part harmonies; actors and their makeshift costumes; and sneaking whatever might be deemed as suitable stage props out of my parents’ house.

Being mobbed by hundreds of screaming, running kids in search of the golden egg.  I am, to this date, a children’s party host, so this is still a yearly occurrence that pretty much comes with the territory.

And, throughout my daughter’s childhood years, taking her to countless parks, Easter events, and egg hunts; being that frantic mommy, running around (thereby occasionally mobbing the party host, in a weird karmic cycle), worried that her daughter would not find any.

Except of course for that year when my daughter was 5 and sick in hospital over Holy Week and the Easter weekend. I was still that frantic mommy, running around and worried, but hardly because of painted eggs.

Yes, Easter—given my often crazy life—conjures up random memories indeed.

Amidst these random memories, however, are the inescapable associations of a more spiritual nature. The essence of my Easter Cantata days, revisited. The Christ on a Cross, paying the ultimate price. The Christ in the tomb, descending into hell to take humanity’s place; the risen Christ at the Father’s right hand, offering up the sacrifice for the sin of the world.

No matter your religious inclination or the absence thereof, it is hard to deny that many Easter memories are tied-in with these beliefs. Whether yours or someone else’s. Unless you’ve lived in isolation on some remote island all your life, you have surely heard the Gospel version of Easter.

Every Holy Week and Easter, a Manila-based independent faith-group of young, passionate people known as Church Simplified helps to create Easter memories of a more inspired and inspirational kind. On its 5th year, the group’s “Walkway” presents a different take on the traditional Stations of the Cross; featuring historical, reflective, and interactive representations of the passion, death and resurrection of the Christ.

“Walkway,” set up at the Fort’s Bonifacio High Street in Taguig, takes you from The Garden, where Jesus pled His Father to take the cup of suffering away from him; and ends at The Table, where people partake of bread and wine in memory of their Savior.

The 14 stations are: The Garden, The Betrayal, The Trial, The Verdict, The Whip, The Curse, The Cross, The Two Simons, The Crucifixion, The Mother, The Promise, The Darkness, The Cloth and The Table.

Stations are interactive and interesting, even artsy. Devout, skeptical, curious, or anywhere along the spectrum, it is hard to deny the impact of these displays: the props, the reflective narratives, the history and imagery of each. People are encouraged to examine a replica of the scourging whip; take swatches of symbolic cloth (red this year, black last year) and nail these to a cross installation; take on a heavy-enough-though-not-nearly-as-heavy-as-the-real-thing cross on their shoulders and walk around with it; examine their reflections in dusty mirrors, and—well—reflect; write notes of gratitude; and the like.

I am hardly churchy. Not these days. And I most certainly have had my fill of cantatas. But “Walkway” undeniably tugs at strings I would sometimes rather deny having.

Check out the photos from “Walkway” 2012 (all photos credited to Andrew Syyap).

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