02 May 2009

living out Easter

it felt a bit like i was fighting for Easter this year. i spent quite a bit of time in services, some in the community, a couple with the choir in the English Reformed Church, and a baptism service in the Oude Kerk. but all the different services left me with a feeling of disconnect. i started the saturday evening vigil, then went to celebrate a baptism - and heard the resurrection story at the end. then early next morning i joined in the last of the vigil, waiting (again) for the resurrection - and when the sun had risen and the candles were lit - and amidst the joy of Easter having arrived, i left for choir practice before the sunday service. and then i bumped into sleepy choir members, doing their best to be well-prepared for the service - but many still were a morning cup of coffee away from celebrating Easter. and here i was practically bouncing, amazed that i could once again celebrate new life and the hope of the impossible!

and the rest of Easter felt a bit the same. Easter was easily felt in the amazing leftovers of the Easter morning feast and a delightful walk in the park. but the barbecue, despite the joy in being able to communicate well with others (yay, for my growing dutch knowledge!) and the wonder of discovering others and seeing the world in new mays, made it hard to experience Easter. Easter, for most of those at the barbecue, was a convenient time to meet together and an excuse to have Easter eggs hidden around - Easter itself wasn't celebrated. and then later on, a relationship which had given much joy and encouragement, ended. and that felt so antithetical to Easter - for Easter is about celebrating new life, not mourning endings. and thus overall, it felt like a fight to hold onto the hope of Easter, the delighting in new life and the believing in the impossible - the impossible that with God became possible.

i'm still struggling with this living out Easter - that joy and hope and wonder. and i'm thankful Easter lasts for weeks, and i will have much practice in living with the hope of Easter.

a friend of mine, Sharon, shares her similar feeelings about struggling for hope at Easter. and i like her words of hope at the end, so i thought i'd include it here.

"Last Sunday was Easter here. Church was nice. But then something horrible happened. I won’t go into all the details because they’re not necessary, but here’s the gist: A situation in our neighborhood ended up in there being cops all over with huge guns and us being evacuated from our house for a short time.

It ended as well as we could have hoped. But that’s it: Hope. Easter is the epitome of hope realized . . . or at least it supposed to be. But last Sunday was hope gone bad. Wes and Rachel and I were talking a little later and talked about how Easter was when God gave his son back to us and some people chose suffering anyway. They didn’t want the hope they had been given. The same thing that happened here; we started the day celebrating and some people chose suffering instead. They forgot about or chose not to see the miracle of Easter.

I was completely torn up. It goes back again to that same longing for something better. I became afraid. The littlest things would startle me for the next few days. I would wake up because sleeping was bad. But being awake was almost worse. I’m sure glad I have hope. I can’t imagine not living with this hope that I have.

This Sunday was great. It was like Easter . . . it WAS Easter. It was a day full of hope realized. Isn’t this how we should live every day? Our hope HAS been realized! We really have nothing to fear. But there will always be things that break my heart. I just pray that I never forget about hope."

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