Sunday, April 8, 2012
Will the REAL Easter stand up?
When our kids were growing up, Keith and I were both on the church staff. Keith was in charge of the music program and planning the worship services. My role was usually Children's Ministry and at various points, church secretary, and on the Worship team.
Preparing for Easter was a busy, involved process. People have no idea how involved it is behind the scenes, from getting the ashes for Ash Wednesday to moving lilies after the final Easter service. There were Lenten Bible Study groups that kept the scripture "real" or grounded. But behind the scenes, there was a choir cantata to prepare, an Easter Egg hunt to organize and run, special bulletins to prepare, an Easter breakfast to set up, and all the special Holy Week services. We had services for Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday and Good Friday, the Sunrise Service, and the Easter Service.
Of course, none of this was in a vacuum, as in addition to church work, we both had other full time jobs, had children to raise, soccer games, and the little league baseball season often started about then, least we have a moment of free time.
And then there's the "behind the scenes behind the scenes" work to do. Easter involves dying Easter eggs with the kids, and preparing a special Easter meal, our special "Bunny Cake" to make, as well as the shopping involved to do so. Then there are the clothes... little boys suits, new shirts and a tie, and frilly little girl dresses. Don't forget the accessories - pretty spring hats, hair bows, lacy tights, and gloves! And shoes all around... everyone needed new Sunday shoes and the tennis shoes were generally replaced at the same time while we were there.
And Easter baskets? What? the stupid rabbit didn't actually deliver them? This would explain why, in our house, the "basket" might be a new baseball glove, or a pretty hat, or even a new baseball cap, new tennis shoes, or buckets for the sandbox. They were filled with the accessories of Easter, along with a bit of candy, some small toys such as stickers or a coloring book... bubbles and a new kite were often included as well. The Easter Bunny was pretty ignored, which may explain his lack of generosity in helping with the process. But somehow it all came together, as our smiling, beautifully clad children looked happy on Easter Sunday.
It'd be easy to get so involved with all the trappings of Easter, that we forget the real meaning. Palm Sunday brings us back in line as we think of the week ahead. Maundy Thursday reminds us of the great love Jesus showed us, and His lessons on love and the example of the Last Supper, which we follow each time we take communion. Then, the agony remembered on Good Friday, makes the rejoicing of Easter even more special. "Up From the Grave He Arose!" I think of the chilly sunrise services over the years, and the glory of the sun filling the sky as a glorious reminder of the Son that was victorious over death, bringing us grace that paid for our sins. "He LIVES!"
This Easter, our daughter Emma invited us to attend church with her family, her husband Rudy and her son Noah. We have reservations for our Easter Dinner at a restaurant afterwards. It's a far cry from planning the service, seeing it come together as expected, and cooking for days. But it's still Easter, and our Savior is Risen. THAT is why we have Easter.
One of my favorite Easter songs is "He's Alive!" by Don Francisco. Enjoy, and remember the real Easter.
click to hear He's Alive!