03 April 2013

Celebrating Easter ecumenically

This past weekend, the community held an Easter night vigil. Starting at 10 p.m. on Saturday evening, people sat in the chapel waiting for Easter to come. At 7 a.m. the next morning, after a night of limited to no sleep, we greeted the resurrection of the Lord.

Among those who began the watch with us was an Orthodox Christian. I say he began because no matter how long he might have sat there on Saturday evening, his wait will be the longest as the Eastern Orthodox church celebrate Easters 5 weeks after the Western Church. Knowing how important Easter is for both traditions, I was honoured by his desire to participate in this feast weekend in the community, even though liturgically he is still in the middle of lent.

It seems .like such a small detail - simply being present - yet for me it symbolised well the desire to be church together in the middle of all the traditions that sometimes appear to conflict. And perhaps in 5 weeks, Matthijs and I will join in the craziness of the Easter celebration in the Orthodox church (a service I attended a couple of times in Grand Rapids). I will be ready for a second Easter celebration by then, I think. And nobody celebrates quite as well as the Orthodox with their 5 hour liturgies, numerous repetitions and lots of bells and whistles (and incense). :)

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