Happy Easter… one of my favorite days of the year.
This morning we had a full house-plus at our Easter worship… It felt good to focus on the Resurrection of Jesus and partake together in the Lord’s supper. But I have to secretly confess that I have my homesick moments in missing some of the Easter traditions not just of my family but also of other church communities I have been part of in the past. There are a lot of things that I love about the house church, but particularly on Easter I miss today being a BIG DEAL, celebrated as the “pinnacle” of the Christian year. (OK, so I don’t miss the dressing up in Easter clothes, but rather sunrise services outside and special meals and singing “Christ the Lord is Risen today” kinds of things)… I also was bummed with myself that I hadn’t done more Eastery things with our children because of my own busyness and some annoying health things. I know I could have done a lot more personally to make Easter feel more alive today.
This weekend was peak viewing day for the cherry blossoms in Ishinomaki… so despite the chilly weather we had a picnic after worship under the cherry blossoms! It is still a somewhat bittersweet location, as the whole area below this hillside was washed away by the tsunami. Today it was nice to be with our community in the midst of beauty in Ishinomaki.
We all came home tired! Tonight before bed, though, we fit in one more Easter thing… we showed our children the short video that we had watched this morning in house church…. the old 70s song by Don Francisco, “He’s Alive!”. It is a video of the song that uses a re-enactment of the Resurrection story from the eyes of Jesus (find it here). Our kids really enjoyed it, asking questions as they watched. The six minutes or so depicted brief scenes of Peter’s denial followed by Jesus’ death on the cross, the deep sorrow of his friends, and then Peter’s amazement when Jesus showed up two days later following an empty tomb.
Olivia is a visual learner… and tonight she seemed to finally “get” the story of the Resurrection. When Peter hugged Jesus, she exclaimed with great joy, “It’s unbelievable!”
Easter seems to need to start with grasping what is humanly speaking, incredibly far-fetched — this is the faith piece — the leap that needs to happen. Now, Olivia is really ready to start believing. And, today, even without a bunch of traditions, I think we have experienced Easter.