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Easter Report

This is an open thread for people to describe their Easter experiences this year. The (western) church’s most developed, profound, and meaningful times of worship, proclamation, and prayers occurred yesterday. What did people hear, see, smell, touch, discover in the experience of Holy Week this year?

24 Comments

  1. Dan wrote:

    Our experience of holy week included a 2 hour community meal based on the Seder on Wednesday evening during which we heard the story of deliverance and tasted bitter herbs and sweet charoseth among other traditional passover foods. On Good Friday and Holy Saturday a number of folks experienced the Stations of the Cross which included opportunities to feel, taste, see, and hear events of the Lord’s passion. Some gathered on Easter morning just after sunrise to hear and sing about Mary, Mary, Peter, John, Thomas and others as the new reality dawned in their lives and our world. Latter on Easter Day we joined with the church around the world to celebrate locally the Resurrection with instruments and voices, hugs and handshakes.

    Monday, April 13, 2009 at 9:04 am | Permalink
  2. Scott wrote:

    As I pulled into the parking lot I was greeted by someone dressed up as the Easter Bunny. It pretty much went downhill from there.

    Monday, April 13, 2009 at 9:21 am | Permalink
  3. Evan wrote:

    I’ll offer a report that might be a bit deflated with regard to the profundity of worship, but it is what I experienced this year, and hopefully it will be edifying for those who can relate. One thing sums up what I took with me this year: celebrating Easter is much different when you have a child.

    The church I attend attracts a lot of students from the Wheaton College community; their Maundy Thursday service and procession of the cross, Good Friday service and confession, stations of the cross on Holy Saturday and the four-hour Easter Vigil service, and then Easter Sunday (oh, and we added a Wednesday Tenebrae service this year) are all very rich, profound, and solemn/joyful. I remember looking forward to them all through Lent as a student; Holy Week was very much a high point of the calendar.

    This year… well, this year we had Sophie. Who is wonderful, don’t get me wrong. And she had a blast staying up late to celebrate the resurrection. But this left my wife and me focusing on corralling her as much as on worshiping. We had no energy to attend on Wednesday and Thursday, and only made it Friday through Sunday. It was a meaningful time, but also very stressful and tiring. Late night services are not good for 11 month-olds, and Sophie was a wreck by Easter morning. By Sunday afternoon, I was just glad that Holy Week was over and we could get back to some normalcy.

    I don’t think any of this is bad, necessarily. One thing that I love about our church is that the place is crawling with little kiddos, so we were in the same boat as other families and simply met Christ where we were. I can’t say it was especially profound or that I was even paying very much attention in comparison to other years as an Eastertide congregant. But it was what it was, and it was still a gracious gift.

    Monday, April 13, 2009 at 9:25 am | Permalink
  4. Skip Newby wrote:

    I spent a substantial part of Holy Week contemplating the Passion. So, on Saturday I was thinking of the major depression and fear the disciple’s had going on. And thinking about others who were possibly deeply moved by the passion events. Possibly some religious leaders, Roman soldiers, Pilate and his wife, Simon of Cyrene, and many more I’m sure.

    By the time the sun rose, I was ready for some joy in the fact that all things were made new. And I had it through music, reading, prayer, and communicating with others reveling in gladness. A celebration in the entire universe that Love had conquered sin and death.

    Monday, April 13, 2009 at 9:18 pm | Permalink
  5. Terri R wrote:

    This year has been a year of great change for my family and this Easter was about giving up many traditions for me.

    First, my oldest moved out of the house a few months ago. My mother and sis-in laws moved into assited living and my step brothers in law came from out of state to see them for Easter and finish sorting through family keepsakes.

    I grew up in a mainline denomination with all the anticipation and tradition of the season. Our current church is very untraditional. The Wednesday service was nothing special this week, just the first session of a new quarter’s classes. No other pre-Easter services were scheduled. Sunday morning, the only sign that anything special was going on was a few of the men were wearing suits and some of the kids were dressed nicer than usual. The sermon was on how the resurection should impact our lives but it could have been preached any Sunday. There was one “special music” duet with an Easter theme but I could not follow the words. No other music was Easter themed. Some of the kids were given plastic candy filled eggs by Sunday school teachers. I have nothing against that if it is somehow used to teach.

    After church, we went to visit my mother-in-law and sis-in-law in an assisted living facility and ate lunch there. We spent the afternoon with them and the brothers-in-law. It was a good family time but spiritually, very much lacking.

    I miss the anticipation of Easter that Lent brings. I miss the thrill of Easter morning.

    Monday, April 13, 2009 at 11:58 pm | Permalink
  6. Hi Halden,

    I’m an Anglican priest with four points in my charge so I spent much of Holy Week driving to each of the different churches. We held a Maundy Thursday service (three of them) with a service of foot washing (being surprised by one of the ladies whose feet I washed as she wanted to wash mine in return…which was an unexpected surprise!). Our Good Friday liturgy included a meditation on the seven last words from the cross (mainly inspired by Hauerwas and his little book).

    I want to echo Evan’s comments above about kids in Holy Week. My wife got sick earlier in the week and actually had to be hospitalized for the night. This was Monday. I was awake all night and then had to lead a clergy retreat the next day on “Rediscovering the Liturgy as Political Act”. By Good Friday, my wife was still recovering and my four year old really wanted to come to the service. In his words, he wanted to “come hear the story of Jesus’ crucifixion”. So, I obliged, with the caveat that he needed to really pay attention and listen. I didn’t actually think he would, but he sat through an hour service without budging and during the reading of the passion he was glued to the story. When it came time for the eucharist, he got himself up from the pew, came forward, took the bread and the wine, and went back, sat down and waited for the end of the service. This was my Easter miracle!! Afterward he informed me that he really had to pee throughout the service and headed off to the bathroom!

    We also held Easter Vigil (which is a beautiful service of the lighting of the new fire and the paschal candle). It’s also the only time of the year that I sing the liturgy. On Easter Sunday morning, we get a lot of visitors (like anywhere) and in preparing my sermon (on Mark’s account of the resurrection) I wanted to de-sentimentalize Easter so my sermon was titled “Jesus scares the hell out of us” and I used Edvard Munch’s “The Scream” as an image of those who witness the resurrection (at least an image of the three women at the tomb that day!). It’s wasn’t an image they were expecting on Easter morning, but that’s resurrection, isn’t it, completely unexpected?! And it gives me a chance to tie it up this coming week with the account of the scared disciples and the peace Jesus offers them…a peace that unhinges fear and blows the doors off our desire for security and stability!

    Thanks for letting us reflect on our Holy Week experiences. I actually hadn’t sat down and reflected yet. I don’t know if I would have if you hadn’t asked. Thanks.

    Patrick+

    Tuesday, April 14, 2009 at 5:05 am | Permalink
  7. roger flyer wrote:

    I spent Easter morning wandering around my yard, collecting fallen branches from Ironwood and Cedar trees, and building a little fire in my outdoor fireplace. I drove down to the local coffee-shop to get a cup, and it was closed. I drove back home and pouted.

    I am one of the hundreds of thousands of former pastors in (self-imposed) exile from ‘church’, i.e. as we experience it here in Christendom.

    I feel sad, lonely, isolated, deprived. But I can’t go back to church. Before you try to wave me back in, please try to understand. I don’t want to go back. I just don’t where I can go…

    And then, my family came over for Easter dinner and we laughed and ate a lovely dinner and talked about the atonement and the resurrection and I felt a little better. He is risen!

    Tuesday, April 14, 2009 at 6:15 am | Permalink
  8. Jeremy wrote:

    I went to a service with my parents at a Baptist church. It hurt my feelings a little. The pastor told a story about a liberal theologian who, at some sort of conference, claimed the resurrection wasn’t literal. a man at the conference who was eating an apple asked the theologian whether the apple was sweet or bitter. the theologian said he couldn’t know because he had not tasted of it. the man then said, and you have also not tasted of my jesus. at this point, half the people in the service i was attending started clapping for this story. i actually booed. i don’t think my parents heard me booing, but i am pretty sure the lady to my right and my girlfriend to the left heard me.

    a little back story: i grew up a pentecostal. around 17 or so i started questioning my religion and remained an agnostic until i was about 29. i was intitially drawn back to christianity by reading cs lewis, but have since gotten into lots of theology and philosophy (including zizek). needless to say, the sort of dogmatism and emotionalism i heard at my parents church does not sit well with me.

    on a bright note…i had given up cola for lent and had one with lunch after church.

    Tuesday, April 14, 2009 at 7:47 am | Permalink
  9. John Paul Todd wrote:

    This is profoundly helpful coming at this time. I recall a statement something like this from J.Ellul, one cannot but be mindful of the inutility of man, the more we consider this whole redemptive history. Never do we feel that more it seems, when in faced with celebrating the greatest week in human history while all too aware of our humaness. I especially enjoyed the rabbit in the parking lot.
    Here is the link to Ellul’s summary thoughts in “The Politics of God and the Politics of man”.
    http://www.religion-online.org/showchapter.asp?title=1506&C=1342

    Tuesday, April 14, 2009 at 9:11 am | Permalink
  10. N. Dan Smith wrote:

    We’ll leave the light on for you.

    Tuesday, April 14, 2009 at 10:33 am | Permalink
  11. kim fabricius wrote:

    1. Sunrise service on the beach, Reformed and Methodists together. Anomalously dry in Swansea, but the new gibbous was even more impressive that the “busy old fool” (Marvell) poking its face above the horizon.

    2.A lump in my throat when I looked out and saw my wife in the congregation as our church service began at 9:30. She’d had a quadruple bypass just ten days before Easter and was under strict orders not to attend the service. But they were my orders and, hey, I’m only the minister’s wife’s husband.

    3. Stopped on the way home to see a church member and friend G., who is close to death by cancer. I read the gospel from Mark (the resurrection), then sang “Thine be the glory” (with my voice, the descent into hell), then prayed (in paraphrase): “Fuck you, death!”

    4. Watched the Mets on mlb.com. at 6:00 (UK time). Big mistake. But a parable: victory for the Fish; and unearned runs, unmerited salvation.

    5. Fell asleep reading Stringfellow (A Simplicity of Faith: My Experience in Mourning) – with the light on.

    Tuesday, April 14, 2009 at 11:19 am | Permalink
  12. Dave wrote:

    I’m in a similar boat. I haven’t attended church regularly for about 9 or 10 years, ever since my dad resigned as a pastor of a small baptist church. I attend semi-regularly in college, but I was at home for Easter. Went to an uneventful dinner at my grandma’s house, and followed it up with listening to one of the Rowan Williams lectures, procrastinating school work, and reading more of David Dark’s excellent new book, “The Sacredness of Questioning Everything.”

    I suppose I’m still looking for a church community, but often find myself in self-imposed apathy, even though I like to say I have a high ecclesiology.

    Tuesday, April 14, 2009 at 11:37 am | Permalink
  13. roger flyer wrote:

    Kim-
    I like my day better now. My wife is healthy. My kids and grandkids are joyful. He is risen.

    Tuesday, April 14, 2009 at 3:00 pm | Permalink
  14. roger flyer wrote:

    When I wake up, I’ll say hi.

    Tuesday, April 14, 2009 at 3:01 pm | Permalink
  15. roger flyer wrote:

    Ditto. I’ll look for the book.
    Thanks.

    Tuesday, April 14, 2009 at 3:01 pm | Permalink
  16. Nate Kerr wrote:

    He is risen, indeed! Alleluia! Alleluia!

    Tuesday, April 14, 2009 at 3:05 pm | Permalink
  17. Nate Kerr wrote:

    Roger–
    He is risen, indeed! Alleluia! Alleluia!

    Tuesday, April 14, 2009 at 3:07 pm | Permalink
  18. I went to the Easter Vigil at the Basilica in town. I saw a couple friends take their first communion, since they were taken from catechumen to reconciled in the service. For the most part it was an interesting service. I, however, when the Priest was throwing Holy Water into the crowd felt a burn, heard a hiss, and smelled charred flesh. Protestants beware! Juuust kidding.

    He is risen for all!

    Wednesday, April 15, 2009 at 12:30 am | Permalink
  19. roger flyer wrote:

    Not all protestants are suspicious of Holy Water.

    Thursday, April 16, 2009 at 3:16 pm | Permalink
  20. I’m not actually opposed to Holy Water. It was supposed to be a joke about Catholicism looking suspiciously on Protestants, enough so that the Holy Water, being Holy Water, would react with a Protestant like it does to a vampire in vampire stories. I was looking for the humor in a gross caricature.

    Friday, April 17, 2009 at 1:50 pm | Permalink
  21. Dan wrote:

    It may be distracting for you as parents, but for the kids it’s memories and sensations and experiences that can become rich and life shaping… I have no clue what it was like for my folks when they took us to various worship events, but the cumulative affect on me I wouldn’t trade for anything.

    Friday, April 17, 2009 at 5:40 pm | Permalink
  22. Dan wrote:

    i got the joke, d.w., heh heh

    Friday, April 17, 2009 at 5:49 pm | Permalink
  23. roger flyer wrote:

    Ohhhhhh…so it was your flesh that was burning. I thought it was the guy next to you.

    Sunday, April 19, 2009 at 4:02 pm | Permalink
  24. Phil Sumpter wrote:

    I’m kind of vicariously discovering God through the journey of a former junkie who turned up a month ago in our Bible group. It’s exciting and scary at the same time walking with him, but God’s already taught me to let go so I’m trying to put it into practice this time.

    Tuesday, April 21, 2009 at 2:27 am | Permalink

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