This is the first time I've done Easter Sunday at FCS.
I knew to get there early -- quarter of and the place already felt as full as (if not fuller) than it does on any given Sunday after everyone's arrived.
I wasn't a big fan of the floral paraments, but I did compliment Gianna on her Easter outfit -- I mostly meant the skirt and boots, but she was most excited about her magenta Easter bonnet. (Ari, I thought of you.)
The second Prelude was "Jesus Christ is Risen Today." I just breathed it in.
The service started with the choir (in the back of the church) singing, "Alleluia," but in a way that sounded almost mournful. I had the twin sensations of, "This is the word we haven't said all Lent," and, "But we're not happy/excited yet."
Then Support Pastor Ian H. (from the back of the sanctuary) said, "They had killed him," and told briefly the story of the body being laid in the tomb -- setting the scene for us. The choir sang again. Then he began to tell the story from the Gospel of John (again, in a storytelling way, not a word-for-word reading). After Simon Peter and the beloved disciple returned home, the choir sang again. And then we heard the story of Mary's encounter with the risen Christ.
As the choir processed, two deacons took the dark blue netting off of the fake butterfly+flowers art installation on the Table. And two deacons lifted the large wooden cross -- I thought they were actually going to take it out of the sanctuary (because I am the kind of person who thinks banishing the cross is an appropriate Easter action ;) ) -- and turned it around, so instead of bare wood we saw the beautiful springlike art installation created out of so many broken pieces (a previous Lent's congregational project). They also put a beautiful rainbow diaphanous cloth underneath it. And deacons took Easter lilies and tulips which had been hidden behind the walls(? I don't know what that portion of the front of the sanctuary is called officially) and put them up on the wall ledges. [Edit: Oh, and also Ian H. was in a white robe -- which I don't think I'd ever seen him in before; and I know
he was wearing his black robe during the telling of the John story (he had walked up and down my aisle during the telling of the story). Well-done, transformation.]Edit:
about the Easter Sunday service experience and explained:
This year, for our Easter reveal—when the triumphant music starts after we find out (breaking news!) that Jesus is really alive, and we light the candles, bring in the Christ candle, dress the cross, put out scads of tulips and lilies—Ian, our support pastor and I also disrobed (how very progressive a church! you say). We had black robes on over white Easter robes and stoles, and unzipped them in front of the church to metamorphose from mourning into celebration.
Her blogpost also includes her sermon text (among other things). /edit
And then we all sang "Christ the Lord is Risen Today." I cried through the whole thing.
During Passing of the Peace, Elizabeth F. dragged me to the back of the sanctuary to see Rowan and a whole contingent from Lucy Stone. (I hadn't known they'd come, but Elizabeth had seen them because she's in the choir -- and thus has a view of the entire congregation.)
The Sung Response that called us back to our seats was "Glory, glory hallelujah, since I laid my burdens down..."
There was a Time for Children and then a Resurrection Anthem -- "Sithi Jabula (My Joy Is Jesus)," a traditional Xhosa (S. Africa) song.
I cried through portions of the Molly's sermon.
[FTR: Her primary themes were, "The time for secrets is over," and "We can't go back again, we can only go on" -- she had titled her sermon, "How To Come Back From The Dead," but she said you can't come back, you can only go on. She had the choir reprise "I Feel Like Going On" from last week. She ended with listing ways that currently work for her and then invited our voices. Her list included: "to look for beauty and start with your mirror ... to let people feed you ... treat your feelings like beloved houseguests, but not permanent housemates ... take lots of showers and/or baths; these are baptisms for everyday"
Other notes: Molly talked about how she started out with lots of optimism/denial but then she started looking like a sick person, feeling like a sick person -- vulnerable, unrecognizable ... and not from the cancer but from the cure. She didn't belabor the point, but I thought, "I see what you did there :)"]
The hymn following the sermon was "Alleluia! Alleluia! Hearts to Heaven."
Doing the Announcements, Marlin said, "continuing on our cancer theme -- I never thought I'd say that on Easter Sunday" :) (A cancer survivor is doing a benefit concert...)
During Prayers of the People, in the first moment (prayers for the world), Molly prayed for "people who face death and show us how to live -- for nuclear power plant workers and carpenters and undertakers in Japan," and I cried again.
When we said the Lord's Prayer, Jen and Matt sitting behind me said it in Spanish.
The Offertory Anthem was "Now the Green Blade Rises."
Our Closing Hymn was "Halle, Halle, Halle," and lots of us were dancing in our pews, and I felt like we could have kept singing it forever.
In the Receiving Line, I told Ian H. it was a really good service, said I didn't know who I should be thanking. He said so many people had a hand in it, but said that the idea of transitioning from darkness to light. He said the choral Alleluia was a Russian Alleluia.
The front of the bulletin had an angel with the message "Why do you search for the Living One among the dead."
The Meditation at the end of the bulletin was from Rumi:
I don't care if you're dead! Jesus is here, and he wants to resurrect somebody!