Ecumenism: My Kind of Easter

Manila Bulletin, April 1, 2018 | Go to article overview

Ecumenism: My Kind of Easter


By Anabel J. Britanico

Swish! Swoosh! The autumn breeze blew. Everything for me, then, was new. I was staring at trees with leaves that seem to embody evolution, only through their color. Some were green, some pale yellow, and others were turning into a blend of hues. We don't have autumn in the Philippines. So, as I ventured to Europe for the first time, I felt like a little child in awe of everything around. But in a matter of month, all was leeched of beauty.

I didn't realize how fast those sweet leaves bid goodbye. There was suddenly nothing to see. Only gloom, only emptiness. The beginning of winter made me listen to a silence deep and deafening. Until one day, a friend came to me in haste, mumbling, "There isss some...thing! Go ooout... side! There isss.." I wasn't sure if I even allowed her to finish the sentence before rushing to the door, opening my arms wide and savoring all the sensations that my first snow encounter has brought.

I memorized every detail I could. I touched it. I tasted it, even. It was magical. It was, for me, tantamount to the Easter feeling.

Matthew 28:5-8 (Christian Community Bible)

The angel said to the women, "Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. He is not here, for he is risen as he said. Come, see the place where they laid him; then go at once and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead and is going ahead of you to Galilee. You will see him there. This is my message for you."

They left the tomb at last in holy fear, yet with great joy, and they ran to tell the news to the disciples.

During my three-month stay in France and Switzerland for an exposure to the Taize community, I was taught of ecumenism--the effort to reconcile Christians from different traditions and denominations. Ecumenism is my personal definition of Easter. It is trusting that healing is possible in whatever division visible.

The highlight of my experience happened unexpectedly when I was washing the dishes with two friends. One of them was a Lutheran Protestant theologian guy from Brazil and another, an Orthodox girl from Ukraine. We talked spontaneously about our churches' differences. That day shook my theological grounds, not to the extent of doubting what I believe but to be more open that what they believe could actually hold the same truth that I cling to. Because I was talking about all of those with my friends. Because we were not trying to defend what we believe nor persuade the others. We were simply and joyfully sharing. …

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