When someone asks me “what’s your favorite holiday?” it is often considered proper to say the correct answer which is – EASTER! But, I really do love EASTER. I love the smell of Easter lilies. The large trumpet shaped flower is inextricably connected with spring, but the smell is my favorite. I love that when I sit down in church, I can smell the lilies up front. I like poinsettias at Christmas, but they don’t give off a scent. Whenever I smell an Easter lily, I always think of Easter morning.
I love the music surrounding Easter. A few of my all-time favorite hymns are O, Sacred Head Now Wounded, and What Wondrous Love is This? that we typically only sing for Maundy Thursday or Good Friday services. Maybe it is the mournful minor key with the powerful words, but these hymns seem to capture the weightiness of Holy Week. They are, of course, followed with the classics from Easter morning, Christ the Lord is Risen Today, and Up from the Grave He Arose (which I and other young pre-confirmands always changed to “up from the gravy he arose…with a chunk of beef on his nose…”) that celebrate Christ’s resurrection. After the meditation on our sins and Christ’s suffering during Holy Week, by Easter morning, the weight is gone, the tomb is empty, and Christ’s people are ready to rejoice and celebrate.
But, Easter isn’t about candy, egg hunts, lilies or just music, of course. I love Easter because it is counter intuitive, this rising from the dead. Yet, that resurrection is the very
foundation of our faith. I love Easter because it is unexpected, the two men in “dazzling clothes” asked them “why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen.” That is pure HOPE! That is pure EASTER!
But, what I really love is that Easter provides an opportunity to rejoice in this HOPE. In a world where “the good” don’t seem to win, “the wise” are often ignored, “the kind” are ridiculed, and “the poor” are dismissed or oppressed, “the truth” of EASTER restores my HOPE. “He is not here, but he has Risen. Come and see! GO and tell!”
WHY SHOULD I CONSIDER COMING TO ALL THE EASTER EVENTS? If all you attended was Palm Sunday and waved palms and then came the next Sunday and celebrated the Resurrection…Easter might be just one giant celebration. Celebrations are great but they can be even more! This Easter season, it may be time to take the “whole journey” and to experience the “whole story” of what makes Easter the Greatest Celebration of All! Here is a “brief” on what is happening on Holy Week:
PALM SUNDAY (April 14) – It begins with the waving of palms and shouts of hosanna, but it ends with Jesus, a reminder of
the final days and our preparation of his disciples.
MAUNDY THURSDAY (April 18 – Mingo) – “The Living Last Supper” where 12 persons will “bring to life” the painting of the Last Supper by Leonardo Da Vinci. Each of the disciples will share their brief story about following Jesus and asking if they would be the betrayer of Jesus in these final hours. “Is it I?” Communion will culminate the service as each person in attendance actually takes communion from the Last Supper table as the disciples strike the pose of the famous portrait.
GOOD FRIDAY (April 19 – Farrar) – A service of darkness and ends in Hope! The veiled cross, the “tenebrae” service of extinguishing candles one by one, the sounds of hammers and nails brings the crucifixion into reality. Iron nails will be given out as a reminder of this service which will end in Hope. It is Friday, but Easter is coming!
EASTER SUNRISE – (April 21 – Farrar)- 7:30 AM with breakfast to follow.
EASTER SUNDAY MORNING – (April 21) – Easter in all its splendor and hope! Music, lilies, “Christ the Lord is Risen Today!” Kids and the Easter tomb! Sharing the story! Chimes and bells! Hear the bells ringing…really ringing! Easter egg hunts for children at both churches. You bring the family (especially kids) and we will tell the story. A faith-filled memory maker! It’s all about THE GOOD NEWS! GREAT EVENTS for the entire family! So SHARE IT! Spread the WORD as much as the disciples shared it that first Easter! Invite your friends & family so they don’t miss this Easter Story but experience it to the fullest! Faith-filled memory makers!