Our Opinion: A joyous message of hope, renewal for Easter Sunday

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Editor’s Note: A version of this editorial first appeared in The Wilson Times in April 2014.

We are in the midst of high holy days for both the Christian and Jewish religions. Today is Good Friday, the observance of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross to redeem mankind. Easter, which commemorates the resurrection, is Sunday. Passover, which Jesus celebrated during his earthly ministry, begins this evening and concludes April 7.

A central theme for each of these holidays can be summed up in one word: Hope.

In believers’ lives, these holidays have great significance, more than Hanukah or Christmas. Without the events these days recall, it’s highly unlikely either religion would exist.

Hope. That is important to both events.

Passover reminds both Christians and Jews of God’s victory over evil in the form of slavery in Egypt. The 12 tribes formed from the offspring of Jacob were given new hope as well as their freedom. It’s a hope that we all can still share in today.

Easter celebrates the triumph of Christ over death and sin. And it provides the world hope for a better tomorrow.

Our world still needs these messages of hope. Far too many places on our globe see tragedy, suffering and evil even today.

A brutal civil war rages on in Syria. The Russians seem to be menacing their neighbors in the Ukraine. The Taliban continues to threaten peace and stability in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Families suffer waiting for news of the missing Malaysian jetliner or for word of any survivors of the ferry boat accident in South Korean waters.

Closer to home, we’ve been reminded this past week of last year’s explosions at the Boston Marathon and the ensuing shootout with police a few days later. Students with knives and guns in schools have many on edge.

We’ve seen tragedy right here in Wilson as well. Far too many of our residents still go hungry. We’ve seen fights and we’ve seen the ill effects of drugs and alcohol on too many families.

But we still have hope.

Easter and Passover should remind of us hope. This is a time of year of renewal and even resurrection. No matter how bad the times may seem, we all need to cling to hope. And it is through that hope that we can also begin to experience joy.

May all have a joyous Easter and Passover this year.

Easter Monday tradition

One of the unique advantages of living in North Carolina pops up once a year at Easter. The Tar Heel State is one of the few places in the nation that still has a tradition of a holiday known as Easter Monday.

It’s no longer an official state holiday, but some businesses and some people still take note of the day.

Easter Monday was an official holiday from 1935 to 1987. The story goes that the holiday had little to do with religion, unless you count baseball as a religion. The day after Easter was the traditional date of an annual game between North Carolina State University and Wake Forest.

Reportedly, legislators thought the day ought to be spent at the ballpark in Wake County (Wake Forest hadn’t yet relocated to Winston-Salem in 1935).

Old traditions die hard, and while the official day off during this time of year has been switched to Good Friday, some still hold onto the Monday holiday. Even three decades later, it’s a hard habit to break.