Easter scars from a burnt orange leisure suit

Published 7:13 am Wednesday, March 27, 2024

By Les Ferguson Jr.

This past Sunday was Palm Sunday, commemorating Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem. As you read this, Easter is just a few short days away.  

Easter has been a big day for as long as I can remember. Of course, as a kid, it was more about dying and hunting eggs — or better yet, chocolate bunnies, jellybeans, and my favorite pecan eggs. 

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I have treasured memories of those days except for one notable Easter Sunday. That day, my parents declared their love for me wasn’t real. I had to wear a burnt orange leisure suit to church. I was probably 13, turning 14 in just a month or so. It took years to overcome that degrading experience. I probably still need therapy. 

But nonetheless, Easter was always a big deal in our family. I loved seeing people wear their new Easter shoes and clothes to church (except for those thankfully few years when leisure suits ruled the day). I may be overstating this, but when the Bible talks about the abomination of desolation, leisure suits may have played a pivotal role.

Did I mention I might still need therapy?

I hope you are smiling because I am. 

These days, Easter still means an awful lot to me, sans eggs, candy, and clothes. As a commemoration of Jesus’ resurrection, I have such great expectations. We often talk about the hope of the resurrection, but hope is gone. In its place is certainty and triumphant expectation. 

Over the years, I’ve lost family and friends to the grim specter of death. Cancer, heart issues, accidents, and a double homicide of my first wife and a son have long meant death is my mortal enemy. 

Momma always said we were not allowed to use the word hate. I suspect she’d let this one pass: I hate death and cemeteries! 

But the resurrection of Jesus changes everything. Death is but a transition to the ultimate reality of life in God’s everlasting kingdom. 

I resonate with the words of Apostle Paul, “For me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. Now if I live on in the flesh, this means fruitful work for me; and I don’t know which one I should choose. I am torn between the two. I long to depart and be with Christ  — which is far better  —  but to remain in the flesh is more necessary for your sake.“ (Philippians 1:21-24 CSB)

Happy Easter to all. In the ancient Christian tradition, “He is Risen. He is Risen indeed.”

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