Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Easter

We still have to color our Easter eggs.

I know it's Wednesday and Easter was Sunday.

We're still going to do it, though. Probably on Friday, when Ella's daddy will be home. It will still be fun, and she will still be happy. Maybe even more happy than she would have been had we done it on time--since this way the fun is extended.

I did buy the eggs on Friday. Food color, too. But then we had a friend's birthday party Saturday morning, and the grandparents came over for their Easter celebration that afternoon until bedtime, and then it was Sunday.

Since I forgot to get the Easter basket stuff out of the hall closet with the loud sliding door before Ella went to sleep on Saturday, I even had to put it together quickly Sunday morning. But she was just as delighted as she would have been if it had been sitting out all night, so it's all OK.


Chocolate (that we confiscated and proceeded to begin consuming while she sleeps--dark chocolate solid bunny for him, milk chocolate hollow fairy-bunny for me), book, coloring book & sketch pad, beach ball, sand toys, bunny ears (Daddy's pick), summer dress.


That being said, while I'm fine with doing Easter eggs a week late, I'm not fine with messing with Holy Week.

Of course, this year with our Hand, Foot, and Mouth issues, it got messed with.

I love Holy Week. It is the holiest of Christian holy-days. "The liturgy held on the evening of Maundy Thursday initiates the Easter Triduum, the period which commemorates the passion, death, and resurrection of Christ; this period includes Good Friday, Holy Saturday, and ends on the evening of Easter.[3][1] The mass or service of worship is normally celebrated in the evening, when Friday begins according to Jewish tradition, as the Last Supper was held on feast of Passover." (read more here at Wikipedia (yes, former students, I am actually directing people to Wikipedia. Gasp!))

On Maundy Thursday, we commemorate Jesus's Last Supper. At our church in San Diego, we even participated in the washing of the feet--the pastor and the deacon washed our feet as mandated by Jesus. "John 13:1-17 mentions Jesus performing this act. Specifically, in verses 13:14-17, He instructs them, 14 "If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet."" (read more here) The pastor poured water into a beautiful white ceramic bowl, and we sat as he washed our feet. It was one of the most spiritually moving experiences of my life, having the dirt of my life washed away in this great act of hospitality. Afterward, we were fed with the Holy Spirit at the Lord's Table; "Take and eat, the Body of Christ, broken for you. Take and drink, the Blood of Christ, shed for you." In this way, I feel full with the knowledge that Jesus loves me, just as I am. Then, the altar is stripped. It is a dramatic moment, seeing that beautiful table bare after The Meal.

This year, Justin worked during the Maundy Thursday service, and I stayed home to tuck Ella in at bedtime. It certainly wouldn't do to take my baby girl out with tiny blisters on her hands and feet.

Good Friday is the saddest day of the Christian calendar. It is the day that Jesus died for our sins. God gave his only begotten Son to die for our sins.

So it took me aback when I saw Facebook posts that said, "Happy Good Friday!"

I suppose it is a happy thing, what with the free gift of life that we humans received in the death of Jesus Christ, God's only begotten Son, but it just doesn't sound right to say, "Happy Good Friday!" does it?

Fortunately for me, the Good Friday service at our church was at noon and Justin didn't work until the evening. So, he fed Ella lunch and made sure she took a nap, while I escaped our self-imposed quarantine for the first time in five days and went to church by myself.

People wear black on Good Friday. The altar is bare. In many churches, a black cloth is draped over the Cross, which in Protestant churches is empty (whereas in Catholic churches Jesus hangs from the Cross). Good Friday is a grave holiday. We read the story of Jesus being denied by one of His disciples, of Him being given to Pontius Pilate for being the King of the Jews, and of the people wanting him to be killed, and of Him hanging there, asking for a drink and being given a vinegar-soaked rag, of Him dying (so He didn't need His legs to be broken for that final step of the execution), and being pierced in the side, blood pouring forth. We read about Him being buried in a tomb, a huge rock being rolled in front of the entrance. We sang solemn hymns asking, "Were you there when they crucified My Lord?" We each nailed a folded piece of paper to the Cross in the silent church, every strike of the hammer cracking through the quiet, nailing the one thing we wanted Christ to take with Him to save us. (An idea, a feeling, an illness. Whatever we wanted, a private message between the parishioner and God.) We left the building in silence.

I always feel a little unsettled between Good Friday and Easter Sunday. I don't like the idea of Jesus being dead. The idea that He is not on Earth to teach his people and not yet in heaven at the right hand of the Father makes me feel vulnerable. I know these days are merely commemorations of the historical event, that this happened once and is only symbolically observed each year, but I take it so much to heart that it feels empty, like something is missing in the regular day-to-day living experience of this world.

So Saturday, Easter vigil, the day of waiting for the Lord to Rise, we went to a three-year-old's birthday party in the park.

There was a bounce house in the park for the party. Ella is not an expert jumper (a learned skill! who knew!), but she had fun--especially when Daddy got in there to bounce with her.)




Then, after Ella's nap, her grandparents came over and we did the hunt for plastic Easter eggs filled with chocolates and puzzle pieces and ate lamb for dinner.


That wasn't weird at all.

Actually, I just frame it as the secular part of the holiday--like when family and friends (most of whom are not Christian) exchange presents at Christmas. I'm sure God doesn't mind honoring these traditions this way.

I mean, really. God must love this degree of delight in His children.


Ella had a pink Easter basket from us and a blue one from Grandma and Grandpa.

She got three puzzles from her grandparents--her favorite is the 48 piece puzzle of different colored monsters from Grandpa Mark.


Sunday morning we did Easter proper. Ella discovered her Easter basket. (The chocolate has since been hidden and hopefully forgotten, even for the most part by the adults.)

Anyone surprised that the first thing she reached for was a coloring book?
We dressed up for church. (Justin brought his scrubs with him, since he had to leave for work during the service--luckily he at least made it to Communion.) We heard the story of the rock being rolled away when the women came with spices to honor the dead, of them being told that Jesus had risen, of the cloth they found, of their fear, and of the disciples seeing Him.

Christ is Risen! He is Risen Indeed!

Ella was amazingly quiet during the service, sitting on her daddy's lap and watching the musicians, and coloring, and reading her books.

Afterward, there was an Easter egg hunt for the children (the egg symbolizes new life) and brunch that we attended before going home for Ella's nap.

Ella found an Easter egg in the church courtyard. The other kids were quick to gather them up, and one little boy gave her one of his, so she got two.


She and I spent Easter afternoon together, basking in the joy of our love for each other and Jesus. We had leftover lamb for dinner and said our prayers together before going to sleep.

Handily, Easter is actually a fifty-day church Season (more here), so doing the eggs a week after Easter Sunday is fine. As long as we do it before Pentecost, we're in the clear. Right?

Happy Easter!

Christ is Risen!

He is Risen indeed!

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