Remember and Celebrate

April 24, 2014

The Year Easter Found me (When I Thought I Had Lost It)

IMG_4695[1]Sitting here at the 10:15 service on Easter morning, the last “event” in the Easter Week Celebration at our ‘newish” church (Life on the Vine Christian Community), I feel like I’ve lost Easter again this year.  I did put on a spring dress, green for new life.  It’s the least I can do.  I have a ham for the kids when they come over tonight.  That’s about it for my Easter preparation this year, or so it seeems.  

I have lived the Easter Experience here once before and I know it is deeply meaningful, full of feasting together, quiet remembering, sorrow and celebration.
Last year I spent it at the nursing home with my dad, who was recovering from surgery after he broke his hip. After rehab he came to live with us and everything changed.  

And here I am this year. Exhausted from too many late nights of my own choosing, I’m like the mom who stays up too late to enjoy the peace and quiet of the house, but then is short of sleep. Either way she loses. 

Then there is the emotional fatigue of care-giving – the not knowing how long it will last and what will happen as the decline to the end of life continues. It’s not always so heavy, but this morning it is. 

The Easter Experience here starts with the exhuberance of the Palm Sunday Celebration.  

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And continues with events throughout the week until Easter Sunday.  We've been unable to attend any of these events because of the care-giving and I have missed them.

Small groups gather for The Seder on Thursday night, sedar easterwhere we see once again see how the  Passion of Jesus is intimately connected to Israel’s story. We feast together, celebrate, remember, and identify with a people of faith and with the God who rescues.  I love this time around the table with people I care about.   After the Seder on Thursday, there is the 

Tenebrae Service on Good Friday. Also called the Service of Shadows, it is a somber service where we meditate, experientially, on the seven last words of Christ as candles are extinguished and we are plunged into darkness and left with the question, “What is to become of the Light of the World?” ending with symbolically chaining the doors of the sanctuary until...  

Easter Sunday Sunrise Celebration, where we gather around the fire pit and celebrate the overcoming of darkness and the coming of the Light.  Forming a processional into the church, where the chains are loosened,chains are broken easterwe pour into the sanctuary and light every candle in the place (and I am talking about a LOT of candles). 

alleluia lighting of candles
There is a joyful wildness, a carefree-ness about it all. Then . . .

The Service of the Word.  Following the lighting of the candles, we experience the major stories of scripture right up to the resurrection.  There is art, depicting the garden and then the art is “ruined” by the fall and one of the children says it's not pretty anymore.  
genesis becca easter sunday

And who can ever forget the story of the flight from Egypt.  pharoah easterOnce you’ve seen mean old Pharaoh chasing after Moses and the children of Israel on their way out of Egypt, then watch the  walls of the Red Sea collapse on Pharaoh’s army – well you can’t forget.  The story continues right up to the the resurrection. 

There is the Baptism of those who have been participating in the “Journey into Jesus”, even as we re-affirm our own baptisms and hear the call again to live faithfully into our baptism.

We take Communion together.
easter sunday communion jpg

And who can forget the Community Breakfast – food enough for everyone.

But Lord, I’ve missed ALL of that. I am so tired.  and I just want to go home and sleep.  What am I doing here?  My mind is wandering, thinking of things that have nothing to do with Easter, until I hear the preacher passionately begin to declare over and over:

. . . WE ARE EASTER PEOPLE
. . . WE ARE EASTER PEOPLE
. . . WE ARE EASTER PEOPLE

and I can’t help but hear and absorb the wonder, the beauty and LOVE that is Easter.   

We sing, clap, celebrate. 

A mom and young son dance together in joy of the resurrection.
Two teenage girls hold onto to each other in the overwhelming-ness of it all.
A man sits quietly in all the “noise” with a smile of utter joy overtaking his countenance.
The singers and the band blend their hearts together to lead us in the celebration.
And and I begin to feel it too, ever so slightly and it becomes real.

I go home and take a long nap so I can be awake for my some of my family to come in the evening.  

And I feel better, more alive.  

Sometimes to appreciate the joy and the TRUTH of it all, a nap is a good place to start!  

And I didn’t miss Easter after all.  There will be more years when I can participate more fully in the events, but I didn’t lose it.
It was just different. 

As I shared this story with the preacher, Ty Grigg, he summed it up perfectly for me when he said  Easter is about Jesus finding us (like he found Mary) just as we are, more than about us finding Jesus.

Photos by Annie Palubicki and Dina Lindemann.  Thanks - I am so glad someone was there to take them!  

Read about "EASTER PEOPLE" HERE

Linking with
Emily Wieringa and Imperfect Prose
Jennifer Dukes Lee and #Tell His Story
Deb Wolf, Blessing Counters
The Weekend Brew, Barbie Swihart

 

10 Comments

10 responses to “The Year Easter Found me (When I Thought I Had Lost It)”

  1. Deb says:

    Carol, This is really beautiful! I am a new visitor from A Weekend Brew. We are Easter People by God’s amazing grace! I would love to have you link this over at Counting My Blessings this weekend. I think my readers would be so very blessed. Thanks and God’s blessings!

    • carol says:

      Thank you Deb. I’ll head over there and take a look around and link up. It certainly was a “blessing” – one I didn’t expect at that point.

  2. Lisa says:

    Wow! I love all the events your church has during Holy Week. You portrayed it all beautifully. It is all about Jesus finding us, because without Him finding us, we’d never find Him. God bless you as you walk in obedience, serving your family in this season of life.

  3. Linda says:

    You are so eloquent, what a wonderful gift! Remember, too, that the Easter “season” has just begun, similar to Christmas, it’s not over the day after.

    • carol says:

      Thanks for the reminder. Eastertide. I sent my grandsons a late Easter package and told them we were still celebrating He is risen. Good to see you here Linda. I subscribed to Creekside Ministries

  4. Kim says:

    Something about Easter didn’t feel like Easter to me this year…hadn’t given “losing” it much thought. Your post causes me to pause and consider my heart condition this year. Transitions have me a bit off balance…searching for direction and yet the peace that comes in His presence is beyond my expectations. He does find us, just as we are seeking Him in our chaos! I am thankful!

    • carol says:

      it’s always good to pay attention…it’s inevitable I think that sometimes life just is what it is and we are distracted. what i love is that God meets us anyway, even in places we don’t expect! Appreciate your friendship and companioning on the journey, my friend

  5. Elizabeth says:

    That last quote…oh my, I love it. Your whole post made me want to join you all through that week. Beautiful!

    • carol says:

      well, if you’re ever in chicago! – guess that’s a long way from Portland! it’s been YEARS since i was that direction but I remember it’s beautiful.

      • carol says:

        Oh Lisa, it is true isn’t it. So grateful he finds us right where we are. Thanks for stopping by.

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