Easter Sunday 2016

THE ART OF CELEBRATION

By Fr. Chris Valka, CSB

Today (Easter Sunday) marks the defining moment of our faith, our Church, our parish and our lives. Nothing is the same after the resurrection. Christ’s triumph is what separates Christianity from all other religions. Look closely at any religion and you will find great teachers and teachings; martyrs and ideas that better humanity, but only one man rose from the dead.

Everything we believe and practice hinges on the resurrection, and so it is fitting that we give this celebration everything we have. I am especially grateful to the many volunteers and ministers who help us to celebrate so well!

I have long thought that good celebrations are an art form – I think this even more as a Pastor of a parish! For those of you who have ever tried to create your own art, you know it is not easy. It takes practice, study and reflection. The deeper I delve into my own faith, the more I am aware of the connection between art and theology; the artist and the theologian.

Though we live in a world where we tend to use words to explain the events that we celebrate today; I think words fall far short of capturing what the life and resurrection of Christ really means. Nor can words give meaning to the suffering of Christ the same way that sign, metaphor, imagery and sound do. Art has a way of transcending our differences and limitations.

Over the past year or so, we have been preparing to implement the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd program for children under the age of six. Just below the sanctuary, we are creating a sacred space for children so that they may learn, on their own terms, the Good News of our relationship with Christ. It has been a massive undertaking, requiring the creation of so many materials precisely so that we don’t need so many words to explain what kids intuitively know: that we live in communion with a creator and creation so much bigger than ourselves.

My own preparation and training has helped me to understand that one of the most important gifts we can give our children is a joy for life – a joy that finds its climax at Eastertime. So long as there is a resurrection, then every bit of suffering has meaning, and yet this is so very hard to put into words – rather it is more easily sensed and lived (or better said – celebrated!)

This is what we do here – we learn to celebrate. We give thanks, praise and glory – and this is its own art form. May your celebrations be a work of art, as they reflect the joy of the season and our relationship with the Risen Christ!

About the Homepage Image:  “Harbingers of the Resurrection”  Mykola Ge (1867)