Easter brings images of Easter bunnies and little girls in frilly dresses to mind. But, in April, 1945, just before the end of WWII, Lucile Ellingwood Morrow, author of the column "Just Thoughts of a Plain County Woman" had a somewhat different perspective. Not much different then the time of national conflict in which we currently live. She looked at the sacrifice Christ made for us and the sacrifices the many men and women of WWII battles were making and posed the question, "Am I worth dying for?"
Read what she had to say in Early April, 1945, just before the end of the great war:
I'm glad to see the fringe of green along the garden fence, to see the tiny blades of grass grow so fast, because they are signs that God did not forget to send Spring when all the world is intent upon grim destruction of humankind and man-made ways of living. Again, we see the flash of the redbird in the woodland edge and hear the fluting of the meadowlarks from the white cloud of pear blossoms and the eager bleating of the woolly lambs as they frisk and jump in the pastures. Now we all turn farmers; there's work aplenty, but with it, there's joy that comes to those who are willing to share a partnership with God in fulfilling spring's miracle, with Christ, the Gardner, who broke Eternal Winter, stirring the soil, sowing the seed, nurturing the tiny plant that reaches up "to a soul in grass and flowers," bringing it into full fruition to bless mankind.
And so it is with Easter which Christmas brought to maturity -- babe in a manger, man on the cross --a fulfillment, a completion. Easter is not the time of death, for, even as trees and flowers spring from the cold, brown bud and bulb,so came Christ out of the grave -- resurrected.
Spring should not be the time for war either, with its widespread destruction, but letters from Europe tell us to, that there, too, the liberated people have begun to plow and plant again the land so lately bombed and blasted, working in Easter faith that once more "grass which is the forgiveness of nature-- her constant benediction" will invade the devastated land, climb slopes and patiently restore the beauty of the landscape, heal the scars of war and bring to flower seeds buried for centuries, never before seen by man.
We here at home, too, must work in faith that "joy cometh in the morning," that "storms cannot last forever, that night yields to day and winter ends in Spring"; such a fragile, beautiful thought as Easter and resurrection is apt to be lost in this age of machines, guns, greed, hate, cruelty, and trivialities; only the power of our faith and of our thought can prevail over the materialism of age.
Just as all Christian people believe that Christ died to have all mankind, so we must have faith that our boys are being sacrificed for the same reason, else all war becomes hopeless carnage. It is so hard to see the "Why?" of it all unless we believe in the brotherhood of man. Even so, we question the price when we hear of such appalling losses as those at Iwo Jima and ask ourselves point blank, "Am I worth dying for?"
The further we go into the war, the more complicated it becomes; new orders, new shortages, new duties and demands arise until we feel we shall never see our way out of the maze, but let's remember that the pilot of the B-29 learns the 55,000 numbered parts of his plane with its unbelievable calculations for shooting a single bullet from his fast-moving plane at another coming from the opposite direction at terrific speed; it involves such intricate calculations as the speed, wind, gravity, temperature, and air densities, high and low altitudes, and yet he shoots 800 bullets a minute! The same is true of the Army and Navy where men follow, without question, their officers; we civilians will do well, also, to live our ration book- tire -gasoline - O. P. A. regulated lives in faith and obedience that is necessary and will lead us all successfully to victory.
We say we have no faith and yet we step on a bus, or a train, or a plane and trust our lives to the driver; we think sometimes we've lost faith in mankind and yet we touch the switch and the dark room is lighted; we turn the faucet and the water runs, we touch the gas fixtures and feel sure that we will have a fire; we drive on our side of the highway, at full speed, trusting that the car approaching, rapidly, will stay on that side of the road; we leave home thread our way through heavy traffic and trust that we shall arrive, promptly, at our destination. Thus, although we do not realize it, our daily life is lived by faith, the same as the lives of the prophet Elijah and widow Sirepta and her son were lived, from day-to-day, on the promise that the "barrel of meal shall not waste, neither shall the cruse of oil fail until the day of the Lord sendth rain upon the earth."
Every day we wonder how we shall be able to do our work with no help, without canvas gloves, new overalls, or sugar and washing machines, yet every day those stones are removed for us just as the stone was removed for the early comers to the sepulcher on Easter morning. We lean more heavily on the promises "All things work together for the good of those who love the Lord; Fear not, for, lo, I am with the always; and even unto the ends of the earth; Ask and it shall be given to you; Seek and ye shall find; Knock and it shall be opened to you."
So, at Easter, the time for new beginnings, renewed hope, putting old mistakes, grudges, hatchets, and regrets behind us, let us too, permit ourselves a rebirth. We too need to leave our old ruts, being assured that, even though we suffer the supreme loss, our boys died for something, and shall live forever, "The Risen Soldier" even as Christ died for for us, "Our Risen Soldier."