Monday, April 13, 2009

Ways to Celebrate Easter

So, how did your church celebrate Easter? Did you have special music? Maybe a special brass section? Was your church filled with flowers? Did you have a breakfast? An Easter egg hunt?

My church has 3 services, and I attended two of them. I decided to skip the sunrise service, and I was Assisting Minister for the 8 a.m. service, which was the most meaningful for me. We read the lessons for the day and sang lots of traditional music. We also affirmed our baptism, and the children sprinkled the congregation with water from the baptismal font and a palm frond.

Our 10:45 service was jam-packed, and the focal point of the service was the Easter Cantata. While I enjoyed it, the service felt more like a concert, and less like worship--except that we had a baptism, a great way to celebrate.

I've carried tissues with me all week, but yesterday, when I had no tissues, I cried and cried. The little boy being baptized reminded me of my nephew and his baptism. The song, "Borning Cry," always moves me, and reminded me of my sister's wedding. Happily, these relatives are still alive, so at least I wasn't in the position of my spouse: the anniversary of the death of his mom fell square on Easter Sunday this year.

The other issue I had with the Easter Cantata was that much of it focused on the Holy Week story. By the time we get to Easter, I'm ready to leave the cross behind. Of course, as I looked around me, I realized that I hadn't seen most of these people at any point during the past week, so maybe it was good to remind them of what brought us to Easter morning.

We came home, made our Easter festive meal (lamb on the grill, two kinds of potatoes, and asparagus) and watched Jesus Christ, Superstar, which I had never seen. After a very slow start, I found it compelling. The ending felt strange to me--no Easter, no resurrection, just people getting on a bus and that empty cross.

When we watched it again with the commentary on, I noticed the figure walking across the bottom of the screen at the end. A symbol for the risen Christ? Norman Jewison, the director, says he didn't plan it, but decided to leave it in. It was one of many spooky synchronicities that made the film so intriguing.

All in all, a good Easter week-end. Now to think about Pentecost . . .

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