Once again it is Easter week. I may kid around about things, but I love Easter.

It is not so much the jelly beans and the chocolate bunnies, either, it is the whole bit about "He is risen!" that does it for me. I love the miracle and I believe in it.


I don't think I have misled anyone into thinking that I am anything else but Christian by both birth and conviction. I don't fuss about how anyone else finds their way to God and/or happiness in life (just so they do it) but this is my way.

I am the kind of person who gets chills when Dolly Parton sings, "He's alive! He's alive!" at the end of that song about the person who found the stone rolled away. All in all, I am very simplistic and wholehearted about my religion.

At the time when I was somewhere in my early teens I read a novel called "The Robe" by Lloyd C. Douglas. The reason Lloyd Douglas said he wrote the novel was to answer a question through fiction: what happened to the Roman soldier who won Jesus' robe through a dice game?

I also read the Douglas novel called "The Big Fisherman" and it was pretty much mandatory movie viewing to go see the 1959 version of the movie "Ben Hur," from an 1880 novel by American general and author Lew Wallace.

These were books and movies written by believers for believers.

I suppose that is why the current crop of movies and television specials that question the political mores of Christ's day and concentrate on the humiliation and pain that Christ suffered at the expense of the miracle of his rebirth leave me rather cold. I even have the temerity to wonder in this day of mandatory political correctness why it is so important to establish the ethnic roots and appearance of Christ. I mean if it was good enough for God, who am I to bicker over where His son was born or what He looked like? I'm good with it, you know? And it seems that lots of others were, too.

There was a time when I was living in the Woodbine area that I rose early to make sure that the horses were taken care of so that I could go to sunrise services at one of the local churches on Easter morning. I did that for three years and I pretty much froze my tuchis off each of those mornings. On each of those mornings the emphasis of the service was that Christ had, indeed, died and that He didn't somehow fake his death and that the rebirth was not somehow a trick. What? I sat shivering in the pre-dawn Maryland morning for that?

When I go to church on Easter I want to hear about the Miracle that makes us Christians. It's just that simple.

Shortly after that I took a job foaling mares. The job meant working all night, every night from January to the end of May. No days off, not even Easter Sunday. Besides, the manager's wife wanted to go to church on Easter Sunday and she went all of the other Sundays, too, so it seemed only right that she got the vote.

On that first Easter Sunday there I was checking all of the newborn foals (and there were a lot of them by Easter time) and then I went out just at sunrise and I sat on the loading dock with my cup of coffee and my feet dangling down and I watched the sun coming up on that lovely spring morning. The little birds that lived in that big barn were zipping in and out and chirping to each other and rebuilding the nests where they had raised families the year before.

All of the trees along the drive had bits of green at the ends of their branches and the grass was greening up in all of the big pastures where there had only been brown winter grass and patches of mud by the gates. The big maple trees in the woods across the fields were turning that spring reddish color that they do.

It was still a bit chilly but there were warm currents in the breeze and in the barn I could hear horses snuffling about in their hay. When a foal would nicker to its mom some of the other mares would answer.

It was the season of rebirth. If man had to rationalize, justify and substantiate, nature did not. And I think it was there that I found the church experience that I had had been looking for.

All I had to do was to listen and to think happily to myself, "He is risen. He is risen indeed."