As I said, I wasn't impressed.
A bunch of people standing around in a park in the wee hours of the morning, a bunch of hymns with awkward melodies, just not doing it for me.
Plus, in the pre-service milling about and greeting, people kept saying how great it was that it was Easter, that Christ was risen, etc., and it just felt weird, 'cause I don't really do Lent (I'm learning to value it, but I grew up not doing it and am not good at being disciplined) so Easter doesn't feel particularly any more joyous or resurrection-y than any other day.
It was nice to see a lot of people I recognized. (Gary was mock-offended that I consort with the Presbyterian as well as CAUMC and CWM.)
The opening reading was Romans 8:38-39. I think we did it with Trelawney reading a line and us reciting it back.
The opening hymn was "Christ the Lord is Risen Today" (approximately verses 1, 2, 4, 5 of this version).
I kind of liked the Litany (unison in bold). I think it was in preface to this that Gary talked briefly about how Mary went to the tomb as soon as she could -- sunrise -- and how it's a mystery what she expected to do once she got there since she could not have rolled away the stone herself. I thought this was interesting.
Easter begins in despair. Our life, our love,Part of the setup was a pile of rocks (smooth ones), and near the end of the service, Molly (pastor at the Congregational) invited us to step forward and roll away one of the stones, saying something that God has unburdened for us. Underneath the rocks was a cartoony painting Gary had done of a sunburst. And we finished right around the time the sun had reached over the roofs of the houses.
Jesus of peace and love, our hope,
Dead, held in a cave, blocked by a large stone.
Who will roll away the stone?
Easter takes us by surprise, early in the morning.
The obstacles we expect to face are removed.
Where once death and despair laid locked in time,
Now the bright light of hope sprouts wings to fly
From emptiness. It is, at first, too good to be true.
Where have you laid Jesus' body?
Don't be alarmed. You are looking for Jesus of Nazareth
Who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here.
See the place where they have laid him. Now go,
tell his disciples. He is going ahead of you to Galilee.
There you shall see him.
The realization dawns. It may rise quietly
as the sun creeping over the horizon, or it may explode
like fireworks, painting the world with dazzle.
We know the One who was dead comes to life in us.
Christ is risen! Alleluia!
All who encounter the Risen One, whether gently
aroused by the sunrise or surprised by the sudden burst
of joy will join the Resurrection Procession one by one,
slipping into step, some of us singing, some of us silently
soaking it in, until all of us feeling like dancing and living
with the Risen Christ.
Alleluia! Christ is risen, risen indeed!
Alleluia! Christ is Risen, indeed!
After service, Karl and Katherine walking down the hill with us, and he kept saying "we" when talking with Trelawney about churches in Maine; I had earlier noticed he had a ring on his left ring finger and been wondering whom he could possibly be married to, so that answered that. (Further confirmed at CHPC service later that morning when the list of whom the flowers were given for/by included "by Karl and Katherine [last name redacted]").
The food was good. And it was nice that Tiffany was there, even though it was basically CAUMC people.
Eric was asking Gary about his Mary toast, and at one point I pointed out that we're Protestants. Trevanna said that one problem in Protestantism is that we've gotten rid of feminine images of the divine (or, something like that -- writing that sounds like Mary=divine, which I have a hella problem with, but my Mary idolatry quick didn't ping when she said whatever she said). I said it was too early to argue about gendered representations of God. She said it wasn't too early, but I didn't pursue it, 'cause I just didn't feel like getting into it.
Conversation over breakfast included Bush-isms and Nancy Pelosi and I felt uncomfortable, but there weren't a whole lot of pauses in the conversation wherein I could offer up problematics.
Better conversation was when Trelawney was talking about how in Muslim countries, everyone says alhamdelela (sp?) -- "Thanks be to God" -- all the time, no matter what, so while she understands the tradition of not saying "Alleluia" during Lent, it's one she has come to disagree with.
I walked in to the sanctuary and saw all these people. I'd forgotten that the fact that everyone shows up in church on Christmas and Easter means that since it is Easter, everyone is gonna be here. I was telling this to someone during coffee hour (Sarah? Amy? Emily?), and she was saying that a lot of the people were people who used to come here but hadn't been in a while. I admitted that if I had been at church with my parents I would likely see a lot of people I might not see on regular Sundays and I would really enjoy that, whereas here I'm like, "If you haven't been here the past couple of months, I don't know who the hell you are."
I chatted with Gusti briefly before the service. She was wearing a white suit with a pale purple blouse. I mentioned how my first thought upon seeing the (relatively) large number of people already in the sanctuary, and she talked about unbounded joy and liminal space.
Karl was wearing a bright watercolory rainbow stole. There's a wall hanging drape of a cross behind the altar, and today it was light green with a white cross surrounded by butterflies. The pulpit drape was white.
With all these people it seemed weird to stake out a solitary pew like I usually do, so I sat with Mike and got to meet his partner, Steve.
The call to worship was John 20:1-10. Having done a book study on The Man Jesus Loved, I am so attuned to stuff like the mentions of "the disciple Jesus loved" in John's Gospel -- thinking about what these events have been like for him if he was the particular beloved of Jesus,
The first hymn was "Christ the Lord is Risen Today." I don't think the words were significantly different from sunrise service (though I didn't have the program with me, so I couldn't check) but I was a lot more into it, and I was thinking that yeah, for all that I'm Low Church, being in a space which was filled with visual indicators of the liturgical season (and also, for all that I am a solitary, being in a community of people who were all in the same mood) really helped me to feel the season.
At line 3 of verse 3 of the version in this hymnal -- "Death in vain forbids thee rise" -- I got all choked up, for reasons not entirely clear to me, and I sang with my voice cracked for the remainder of the hymn. I also decided that I want this hymn sung at my funeral.
[Edit: I meant to mention somewhere in here that I also got thinking about how while my preferred approach to Lent would be to add something to my life (e.g. spiritual practice), it actually seemed appealing to give something up for Lent -- like chocolate or something -- so that I could have that rich fullness of joy that comes with breaking the fast and banqueting on Easter (possibly with mini-fast-breaks on the Sundays thtoughout Lent).]
The Procession of the Christ Candle happened during that hymn, and then we had the Litany of the Christ Candle:
Christ has risen!The Choral Call to Prayer was "This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it" and had drums (as had the pre-service choir pieces).
Christ has risen indeed!
God is alive!
New birth is given!
Hope is alive!
A new age is dawning!
Joy is alive!
Redemption is here!
Love is alive!
Death cannot harm us!
We are alive!
New life is within us!
The church is alive!
The church has been transformed! Let us celebrate the God of resurrection!
We had Silent Prayer and then Prayer for a Crucified World (unison):
When we are all despairing;Karl prefaced the Assurance of God's Resurrecting Power (unison) by saying that now we would with one voice proclaim the things we believe so deeply -- only he phrased it more nicely than that.
When the world is full of grief;
When we see no way ahead;
and hope has gone away:
Roll back the stone.
Although we fear change;
Although we are not ready;
Although we'd rather weep
and run away:
Roll back the stone.
Because we're coming with the women;
Because we hope where hope is vain;
Because you call us from the grave
and show the way:
Roll back the stone.
Goodness is stronger than evil;The "special music" selections for the day were violin and viola and bass (with piano accompaniment). Heart.
Love is stronger than hate;
Light is stronger than darkness;
Life is stronger than death;
Victory is ours through Jesus who loved us.
The Scripture readings were:
Gusti's sermon was titled: "Seeing the Risen Christ."
She began by saying that for us, every day is Easter, that we have lived every day knowing that Christ Lives, but that that first Easter morning they didn't know that, and she talked about how Mary didn't recognize Jesus right in front of her, and I can extrapolate how I expect the sermon would have continued but I was starting to space out by then. (I was impressed at how awake I'd been all morning.)
During the Prayers of the People, one congregant said, "My grandfather went to the hospital this week [pause] and he's not gonna get better," and I nearly broke down right then. Something about the phrasing was just so powerful -- the matter-of-fact-ness and the heavy implication.
Seguing into The Prayer of Christ, Karl said we would pray the prayer Jesus taught us, "using 'debts' and 'debtors.'" There's no indication in the bulletin of which version they use, and CWM uses "trespasses" (which is what I grew up with), so while I mostly get it right in my different settings, I was much appreciative on behalf of all those who don't come here regularly.
On my way to the train I saw people walking toward the Kingdom Hall and wanted to say, "Christ is risen," but that would have been awkward, plus I don't know what the JW stance on Easter is.
My mommy made green beans with almonds and also mashed potatoes, and baby carrots. And there was surprise cake! Okay, not exactly a surprise 'cause I saw it in the fridge when I was deciding what I wanted to drink, but still.
I've been kept abreast of major developments, but it was nice to get random gossip, too. (Oh, Wikipedia.)
We played two rounds of Upwords. My mother informed me that the Scrabble Dictionary includes such great words as zax and qi. It also includes "za" -- short for "pizza." This caused me to cease to have any respect for the Scrabble Dictionary. [Even the AHD? ::weeps::]
P.S. Mom: "Winnie-the-Pooh" origin. (And dictionary.com validates both "pooh" and "um" as interjections.)
I have unfinished church writeups going back to January 31. Once upon a time I had hoped to finish them by Ash Wednesday. Then Easter. Sigh. ::fails:: (I have like no attention span and/or follow-through.)