Sunday is Easter Sunday. For some, a time of Easter baskets filled with chocolate, jelly beans, marshmallow bunnies and other goodies. For others a time for a new spring dress, hats, accessories. Still others go to church for their yearly obligation to be fulfilled.
I was raised as a Catholic. Easter week was spent mostly in church. I truly loved the tradition of the church, the services that were held, the music on the pipe organ that resounded in the cathedral-like church with the stained glass, the gothic arches and the brick flooring. Thursdays we had communion in remembrance of the Last Supper. But, Good Friday was my most poignant of memories. For on Good Friday the church was silent. Stillness echoed inside, no music played in respect for the death of Jesus on the cross. All statues were covered. All was darkened, still. It was a somber reminder of what the holiday was truly about. On Saturday we went to Easter vigil. It started later in the evening, I believe it was around 10 p.m.. The beginning of the service was to bless the new candles and to do the traditions, most of which I have forgotten over the years being a non -practicing Catholic. But, at midnight the pipe organ rang out in glorious melody. The statues were uncovered, voices rang out, Christ the Lord is risen today! The celebration began.
The Savior rose, He defeated death and it’s power.
Long ago I became a born-again Christian. I know it caused confusion to my family and to my friends. Me, who had talked of taking vows to be a nun, became one of those ‘Jesus freaks’. But, it was one decision I have never questioned or regretted.
Now, each day is a celebration of that resurrection for me. I remember fondly those times in my growing up church with love. They formed a foundation in me to honor our Lord. They established in me the awesomeness of the meaning of Easter. They gave me the desire to know more deeply our Savior.
This week I have thought of last year. At first I tried to remember what we did last Easter. Who we spent it with, what we had for dinner. It then occurred to me that last year my Easter outfit was pajamas as we watched church online. I did make a nice dinner as we had to have something for Easter. Last year we were alone, as was everyone else in the world. There were no family gatherings, no church services, no joining in together in song and praise. Each of us were alone, eating our holiday dinner alone, no joined in laughter over old family stories. Just caution for what was going on.
This year, we are going to church. It is still not normal, the sign to refrain from hugging and shaking hands prominently displayed in the foyer. The temperature taking station at the door. But, we can see one another and steal a hug in disobedience. We can worship together, praise together and celebrate the great news, Christ the Lord is risen today!
We were created to be together. We need one another. We were made to encourage each other, to hold another up in prayer, to give that reassurance that troubles last for a season, and while we can we can prop each other up in support.
I look forward to Sunday. To be reminded in song and sermon that Easter is much more than the chocolate rabbits (although they are wonderful and delicious), more than the pretty spring wardrobe, that Easter is truly a celebration. Christ the Lord has risen indeed.