April 2006 - Volume 10, Issue 9

The Quest For Easter

By Rev. Ray Petrucci

Photo of Brigadoon poster

In 1947 the lights of Broadway shone on a new play by Lerner and Lowe - Brigadoon. Most people, however, would come to know the work when in 1954 it would be made into a movie. Gene Kelly played the role of Tommy Albright and Cyd Charisse appeared as Fiona Campbell. The story concerns two men who became lost while on a hunting trip in Scotland. Stopping to rest, they encountered a small village that seemed to appear out of nowhere. In a way, it did. The villagers exhibited the manner and dress of centuries ago. The two discovered that, in fact, the people of the village were two hundred years old. The village had been bewitched and would appear for one day every one hundred years. As long as no one left the boundaries of Brigadoon, the miracle would continue. Tommy, one of the hunters, meets and falls in love with a citizen of the village, the beautiful Fiona. At days end Tommy and his hunting companion had to leave. The time had come for Brigadoon and its residents to enter into its next century-long slumber. Tommy's love for Fiona compels him to leave his world behind and return to Scotland and to Brigadoon. The little village mysteriously reawakens and Tommy enters to spend eternity with his love, Fiona.

Although the village's centennial resurrections may be likened more to that of Lazarus than to that of Jesus, the promises of Easter move through the plot nevertheless. Tommy Albright - Everyman - dreams and hopes, loves and labors, plays and ¼ questions. He is immersed in the busy, noisy, pushy, and worrisome rat race of life. He wonders about the purpose of it all. By all indications, Tommy is a man who is enjoying the good life. He is young, healthy, and prosperous. He also is engaged to a beautiful woman who is more than ready to help Tommy enjoy the benefits of his achievements. Now, after Brigadoon - after Fiona - he views his world in a different and colder light. The uneasiness in his soul cannot be assuaged. His restlessness would not be resolved until he lives in a place of everlasting love.

Even for the agnostic or the marginally religious, the notion of possibly arriving at some utopian existence often colors the course of their life's journey. The descriptions of this future Shangri-la are as numerous and distinctive as there are seekers. Assuredly, there is nothing odd or na´ve about wanting the strivings, sufferings, and longings of one's life to reach a satisfying and joyful end. Could it be logical that the essential lesson regarding life is to look beyond it? People are known to become angry at God and to even loose their faith because of disappointments and failures in the pursuit of dreams. Perhaps, there is much more to these extreme reactions than one realizes. Might they be manifestations of a fundamental dissatisfaction with the insufficiencies of earthly existence, a disdain for the despoiled and sinful in life? As with Tommy Albright, every thoughtful person in their nature is drawn to search for the deeper realities about people and things, right and wrong, and life and death. By the power of an Easter faith, one finds the hope and courage needed to live with a divine purpose as well as a human one. The act of living may be judged to be orientated toward the perfect and the eternal. Thus, the great truth of human nature may be the unquenchable desire for heaven.

Photo of a lily and a bee

Almost imperceptibly, the event that would fulfill the hopes of all humanity has been accomplished. For morning dawned on that first day of the new week. The sun illumined much more than a regular time of business and toil. A most special day for all the peoples of the world had arrived. It was the day of the ultimate act of God's grace and salvation. The breaking light of that day would proclaim that the grip of sin and death on the world had been broken. The gauntlet had been dropped. In the Book of Exodus, Moses, bearing the Commandments of God, offered the people life or death, the blessing or the curse. They would have to choose. Bearing the everlasting covenant, Jesus offers all the choice of eternal life or eternal loss. One's heart must decide. Thus, one is left with the dilemma of all of the Tommy Albrights of the world: Does one surrender one's soul to the materialism, hedonism, and narcissism of the age, or does one follow the desire of the soul for eternal life and eternal love? The answer to this question fashions not only the legacy of a person's life but also its destiny. A victory has been won for all of humanity this day. Rejoice in it!