Easter reflections 2012 : 4 - Easter Day

Having stripped the church of much of the decorations for Good Friday, I replaced most of it right up front for Easter Day. But I left the banner down and the lectern drop up, ready to hang, and covered the table with its gold cloth, cross and flowers with the black and some of the symbols from Friday. I discovered when I was at the church for the redressing on Saturday that some folk had brought their clay crosses and placed them with the symbols from the story, their response to the encounter.
Saturday, Sue and I (with a little help from a granddaughter) hung the pieces people had submitted from their lenten creative spiritual practice. We had invited people to take a canvas and do with it what they wished, creatively responding to the story of God's love however they engaged with it during Lent. The plan was to hang them behind the cross, as a way of exploring what we might do with that space, which is at present not terribly creative, attractive or inspiring!
We had a great variety of responses, and it has sure lifted the worship space.

Even though there was therefore much to indicate that Good Friday's story was to be finished in the unexpected resurrection of the Christ on Sunday, we still began with the sorrow with which the women approach the tomb the morning after the Sabbath in the story.
As we sang our first song, we hung the banner (white and gold, 'Jesus is alive'), took the symbols and black cloth away, and lit the candle. Christ is risen! He is risen indeed!

I was really nervous about this gathering, of all the gatherings. Perhaps because there was more of me in this one than any of the others, offering as I would be a reflection on this most mysterious of stories. I also wasn't hugely confident in my choice of songs. I'm still not convinced they were right.

David and I had decided the 'kids' talk would be an exploration of why we have easter eggs and bunnies - what do they have to do with Jesus? So I googled and found all sorts of interesting and helpful information, and we talked about Eostre, the Saxon goddess of dawn and new life (my way of avoiding having to explain what 'fertility' is), and how she was celebrated in spring festivals, a time of lots of new life bursting about the place. Her animal was the bunny, and eggs were also a symbol used in these festivals, because they represented new life. When Christians were celebrating the new life we experience through Jesus, and how he was raised to new life after having died on the cross, they saw a lot of similarities with the festival for Eostre. So they pinched it, and made it a celebration of Jesus, and the eggs and bunnies kind of stuck, though the name eventually changed to Easter.
I had gone to the shop the day before and bought stickers and flowers and all sorts of pretty things so the kids could decorate eggs, which some chose to do.

As they did, we explored the story a little more, asking questions of it as we had of the traditions surrounding it.
I'll not repeat it - you can find it here. Dad seemed struck by my idea of the vulnerability of the cross. The central question I posed was, how is the cross a picture of love? I also tackled some of the questions of the resurrection, and allowed the story to ask questions of us. Again, as has happened a few times lately, part of my reflection wrote itself poetically rather than in prose.

We brought our candles to the table and lit them as we came forward to receive communion, and I asked people to gather around the table and reflect on the artworks people had done. we sang our final song from here - we had gathered around the table at the close of the Palm Sunday gathering, gathering at the foot of the cross. And here we were again, the other side of the story of death and resurrection, ready I hoped, to live into the questions the story posed for us.

For now the story turns around and asks a question of us:

When you hear the call to love,
will you?
though it will make you
though it will strip away
your power
though it will be tested and
though you will be tried and
abused …
will you make yourself vulnerable,
to empower each other,
will you trust the power of love
when it seems that fear will overpower?
will you live out your
the calling of all creation,
will you answer ‘yes’ to the
call of God –
will you


Glenys said…
Thanks for sharing this, Sarah. It adds to the richness of my Easter.
Heather said…
Love makes you vulnerable, wherever you show it.
Sometimes the risk is great and the price paid with great pain, with loss or with bewilderment.
When people tell you to protect yourself, this is often good advice...
- but at some point you make yourself vulnerable again, by caring. This is how it has to be.
Thank you for your refelection and poetry, Sarah!

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