The father and his college-aged son led us in Easter hymns. Our songs joined with the bird songs. At 7 a.m., the sun was easing its way over the tree line. The father played guitar. His experienced voice rang out warm in the cool morning air.
“Christ is risen,” said the pastor.
“He is risen indeed,” we affirmed.
The congregation was a mix of ages and stories. Some of us had visible scars. Some were grouped in families while others came by themselves. We all sat together on wooden benches in a semi-circle around a simple cross. On the bench in front of us, a young mother rearranged a fuzzy smiling monkey blanket around her young boy in his pajamas. He leaned on her. His older brother put his arm around him to add a little warmth.
During communion, the father played the keyboard while the deacons passed a wooden tray of small cups of juice and bread. I tore a piece off of the loaf. I held my cup.
The congregation was served and the deacons returned to the front. The son tore off a piece from the loaf and gently placed it on the keyboard along with a cup for his father. He looked after the one who was giving to us. Who do you know who is always giving? Show kindness to the kind—the selfless ones who look after others—so they can keep up their work of softening the world. Tear off a piece of bread for them. Give juice to those bringing music to our day.
When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, bought spices, so that they might come and anoint him. Very early on the first day of the week, they came to the tomb when the sun had risen. They were saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb?” Looking up, they saw that the stone had been rolled away, although it was extremely large. –Mark 16:1-4
We usually attend a service of hundreds indoors, a rich and triumphant worship in an expansive space. For Easter, I like the sunrise service outside. I feel humble, exposed to the elements while nestled in the intimacy of a small group.
It’s easy to imagine being Mary, worrying about who would roll the stone back. I think about the hurried walk to the tomb, early in the morning, maybe a morning like this one. The spices waft on the air from the bag in my hand, swinging as I walk. The repetitive thought start to wears a rut in my mind, “Who will roll the stone back?”
I focus on the future tasks I have to perform. How will the meeting go? Will this situation work out? Will these bills ever end? Will his health get better? Will it get easier?
How many times do we worry about who will roll the stone back?
The truth is God will bless us a thousand times before we die. God will work in our lives and exceed our positive—and negative—imagination no matter how we fuss. God knows children fuss, and we are yet children.
Do not worry about the stone.
Christ is risen.
Lord, what are we that
you love us so?
Take the stone out of our mind.
Fill our thoughts with your hope.
Let us live as Easter people,
in your extravagance
What stood out to you about Easter this year? What have you worried about that turned out to be different than you thought? Who will you spoil this week?
PS-new blog design! Thanks for all the feedback!