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Easter... A New Symbol of Victory!! (4.9.20)

Published 4/9/2020

Easter used to be a big holiday for the Serrentino family.  Anthony and Sarah Serrentino and their three children celebrated by attending Sunday services and then preparing and eating a lavish family dinner at their home in Freeport, NY.

For several years after, 23-year-old Maria Serrentino wouldn’t even stay home.  “I’m going out of town to Florida,” Maria said.  “I just don’t want to be around.  It’s too painful.”  She sighed.  “Now, for the rest of our lives, Easter is going to be a holiday that we’ll never celebrate again.”

March 30 marks the anniversary of her father’s death.  It was Easter Sunday on March 30, 1986.  Fifty-seven-year-old Anthony Serrentino, who owned a barber shop in Rockville Centre, NY was traveling alone to the Long Island Developmental Center in Melville to pick up his intellectually challenged son, Vincent, so his family could enjoy Easter dinner together.  He was on Meadowbrook Parkway in Merrick, about to enter an exit ramp leading to Sunrise Highway when a sniper shot out a tire on the car.

It took Serrentino 10 to 15 minutes to change the tire, police say.  Just as he stood over the trunk putting his flat tire away, another shot rang out from a high-powered rifle.  The bullet struck Serrentino in the head.  He died instantaneously. 

For years later, the death of Anthony Serrentino remains an unsolved murder for the Nassau County homicide squad.  Police believe that whoever stalked and killed Serrentino picked him out at random.  But there is no motive.  No suspect.  No new leads.

The lack of clues continues to baffle and frustrate Sarah Serrentino, her son, Vincent, and two daughters, Josephine Proszak of Baldwin and Maria, a senior at Hofstra University at the time.  And they are using the anniversary of Anthony Serrentino’s death to remind the public of a $10,000 reward that was established years ago for anyone with information that could lead to the arrest of his murderer.  This news item was entitled “Easter’s Painful Reminder”. 

Easter 2020, I believe, will always be remembered for the coronavirus, sheltering in place, constant washing of the hands while singing the song Happy Birthday twice, hand sanitizing, not touching your face, and running out of toilet paper. (Truly, I do not understand the toilet paper issue.)  I also think it will be painful for many at the time of this writing for close to 15,000 lives that have been lost to this invisible enemy in our country alone.  Including members of my extended family and friends, both near and far.  But I still believe there is another side to this Easter. 

Easter does have its painful reminder—Good Friday.  The Son of God “became obedient unto death—even death on a cross!”   He died for our sins by crucifixion—the cruelest form of death that a cruel age could devise!

In Winters, CA, a parachute instructor and master jumper whose reserve chute became entangled in an airplane’s tail leaped to his death to save his companions, authorities said.

George Morar, 59, died after he jumped from a plane hurtling earthward because his partially opened parachute was tangling the aircraft’s tail, said Yolo County sheriff’s spokesman at the time, Dennis Winger.  “He gave his life to save the others,” said Winger.

Winger and four others were in the plane that took off from the field at Woodland on a Sunday afternoon.  Morar was sitting next to one of the open doors as the aircraft climbed, Winger said.  At about 5,700 feet, Morar’s reserve parachute suddenly opened, was sucked out the doorway and became entangled in the tail, Winger said.

That sent the plane into a dive.  The other three parachutists struggled to free Morar until the plane had fallen to 3,000 feet and was threatening to stall.

Morar then jumped.  His main chute failed to fully open and his body was found northwest of Winters, about 60 miles northeast of San Francisco, Winger said.

Morar had nearly 3,000 jumps to his credit and was nationally known as a master jumper and a teacher, said a spokesman for the United States Parachute Association.  Morar owned a jumping school based at the Yolo County Airport.

How this reminds those of us who believe in the Christian faith of Jesus Christ who willingly gave Himself completely on the Cross in order to provide salvation from sin for lost humanity.  Here is history’s supreme demonstration of One “Who gave His life to save others”.  Easter 2020 has new reminders of those who are on the front line fighting this invisible foe.  The healthcare workers who keep showing up for work, doctors, nurses, paramedics, and many others in the healthcare field.  The grocery store workers who keep restocking the shelves.  The truck drivers who keep delivering the supplies that are needed to fight this foe.  The bus drivers who continue to pick people up.  The first responders, teachers and parents trying to keep our families safe.   Our city, state, and national leaders who keep informing us of the strategy and status of our battle. Many others also not named to all we salute you.

As the late Sir Winston Churchill was carried on a stretcher from the London Airport after an accident abroad, he held up his hand in his familiar sign for victory.  Commenting on the incident, the Manchester Guardian Weekly said, “Never has so complex a network of emotions been reduced to so common-place a symbol.”

But there is a far greater and more universal symbol than Churchill’s gallant sign.  That symbol is the Cross, and it gathers around it all the issues of life and eternity.  It stands for victory not just in a single war but in conflict of the ages.

Easter 2020 will have a new symbol of victory.  Not as good as the cross.  Neither will it be as lasting, but it will be significant.  That symbol is we’re still standing!  Easter 2020 will be remembered because we did not give up and with God’s help, we made it through to victory on the other side of the cross.  Easter has never been about his death it’s always been about his resurrection.  By faith we will have a resurrection, too.  God Bless You!