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The Blessing of Easter baskets at St. Augustine’s

In life we have moments of both feasting and fasting.  There are times when it is appropriate to gather friends together and have a celebration of richness, but there are also times when to celebrate so richly seems disingenuous to the situation.

Lent and Easter, among many things, allow us to embody moments of joy and sorrow and see them gathered up in the Person and Passion of Jesus.  The gathering at the Cross culminates our Fast, our celebration of the Resurrection begins the days of Feasting.  The patient seeker finds God is in both places. Since somewhere around the 15th century Christians, particularly in the Ukraine and Poland, have marked the end of Lent with a blessing of festal baskets.  It is the ‘first meal’, blessed in the church, to mark our entry into a season of feasting - the 50 days of Easter.  It is a reminder as well of how our lives at home and at church are to be connected.

A blessing will be offered as part of our celebration liturgy at St. Augustine’s on Easter Sunday 10am.  If you wish join in, this will prove a fine way for you to enter into the liturgical act of Easter. If you wish, kids may bring a basket of goodies to be blessed as well!

Option Abring a selection of items from your own tradition that you will eat for Easter brunch/dinner.  Decorate the basket, add a candle and a nice cloth, and bring the basket to church Easter Sunday.  You may want to include some of the traditional items below as well.

Option BBelow are the traditional items included in such a basket which gather up the whole story of Christ’s Passion in their symbolism.  You may decorate the basket with greens and embroidered cloth.

  1. Paska – A sweet yeast bread rich in eggs and butter symbolic of Christ himself, the true bread.  Paska is traditionally round in shape, decorated with a dough braid around the perimeter and an ornamental cross in the center which marks the means of Christ’s death.
  2. Baked Ham – Symbolic of the great joy and abundance of God’s grace shown in Christ.  Lamb or Veal may be chosen.
  3. Kobasa – A spicy, garlicky, smoked pork sausage indicative of God’s favor and generosity.
  4. Red Beet vinaigrette with Horseradish (or just horseradish) – reminiscent of the suffering of Christ in color and bitterness.  Sweetened with sugar on account of the resurrection.
  5. Salt – necessary for flavor and a reminder of Christians to be delightful servants in the world.
  6. Butter – Often nicely displayed.  Symbolic of the goodness of Christ. (Butter makes all things better!)
  7. Cheese – A reminder for Christians to live in a life of balance and moderation.  The cheese is often creamed and presented in a similar way to the butter.
  8. Eggs – Jesus breaks forth from the tomb as a chick breaks from its shell.  The eggs may be decorated as a sign of how the resurrection transforms the tomb into a place where life is celebrated.

This is a story we can taste!  “Taste and see that the Lord is Good!”

May your preparations for Easter be holy and fruitful for your spirit as well as your body.