Tag Archives: Easter

Easter Roundup and Miscellany

» Sunday I was up at 5:30a.m. to lead our sunrise service at the river at 6:00a.m.  That went well, I think.  It’s traditionally a short service–20 minutes or so–but it felt particularly short this year, as I prepared for (with Linea‘s input and Randall‘s blueprint) and led the service.  Seemed short for the effort of getting up at such an hour and just about freezing our butts off–just like that, it’s over.  It was nice, though: mist rising from the river; the sun breaking over the clouds right around the time I read from a Psalm, “This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.”

» Preached on Easter Sunday morning as well.  For some reason this was a really difficult sermon to prepare for, trying to come to terms with the scripture and what’s inside me and what might be expected of the Easter Sunday service from within my tradition.  I felt good about what I was saying (but unhappy about how I said it), but I wasn’t sure how it would come across.  I tried to level the intellectual playing field a bit (e.g. we all make leaps of faith) and took a  “What if it’s true?” angle.

I see I wasn’t totally alone going that route, which is comforting:

What looks like madness to the mind

Makes absolute sense to the eyes of faith.

“He is not here. He has risen!”  (link)

and

It’s easy enough to get into the spirit of Easter, especially if the sun is shining, the church bells are ringing and there are plenty of flowers about adding to the sense of spring and new life.  But stop and think about it for a moment, and – especially if life is not unbounded joy for you at the moment – resurrection is an extraordinary idea, truly beyond belief.  (Link)

Received a positive response afterwards, too, which is nice.  (Though I need to keep my eagerness for approval in check.)

» On Saturday I finished reading the 500-page Early Christian Doctrines, which was good to get through.  Now I just have to type out the answers to the reading questions (which I’ve marked in the book) and that’ll be another assignment done.

» With all the Easter services done and a major reading assignment complete (well, the reading part, anyway) I decided to take the rest of the weekend ‘off’ from schoolwork (I got Monday off as well).

» Sunday night we finally watched The Dark Knight.  I’d give it a solid 4 out of 5.  I confess, though, to having an increasing distaste for violence in film.  I don’t know where this is coming from (maybe having children?), but I’ve noticed it quite a bit lately.  Last week Dixie and I watched Kill Bill Vol 1 again.  Last time I could handle the violence of that film (which was helped by its intentionally campy, B-grade tone), but for some reason it made me uncomfortable this time ’round.  With The Dark Knight I started wondering about who these people are that sit around thinking up these diabolical film characters and their horrible ideas for death and mayhem.  Seriously.  Who are these people?

» When Heath Ledger killed himself, it seems to me the media suggested that he got so into character when playing The Joker in The Dark Knight that it affected his mental health.  Maybe, but I didn’t find The Joker nearly as dark as I had expected the character to be.  It’s been a while since I’ve seen the first (Michael Keaton) Batman film, but, as I recall, Ledger’s Joker wasn’t a great deal darker than Jack Nicholson’s.  (But then memory may not be serving well.)

» Purchased the Tragically Hip’s new album, We Are the Same.  I like it so far.  It’s a quiet album with plenty of melody, which is something which has been distinctly lacking from their last couple of albums.  Being somewhat of a completist, I also bought In Between Evolution at a highly discounted price and remembered as soon as I put it on why I didn’t buy it when it was originally released.  Noisy, melodyless.

Easter Weekend (so far)

Last night Linea and I led our annual Maundy Thursday service at the church.  It was quite an intimate affair this year, with only 11 people in attendance.  We left the service in silence as a symbol of the continuity between it and the Good Friday service.

Of course, most people won’t stay silent for the rest of the evening.  Dixie went off to Sobeys to get some groceries, while I ordered pizza from the church for her to pick up on the way home.  I went to Futureshop and purchased the new Tragically Hip album on a whim (along with another one on sale).  Almost bought the new Neil Young album as well, along with a couple of remasted early U2 CDs, but resisted both.

As I sat in my car, idling in the parking lot, and opened the new CD (I always open and listen immediately) I made a momentary connection with Jesus’ disciples, who scattered after he was arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane.  A group of us Jesus-followers had just gathered to commemorate the Last Supper and the new command to love each other and then we scattered into the world, back to our normal lives of TV and eating and drinking and shopping.  It seemed for a moment like such an incongruity to go just go on about our business as usual after that service.  But, I thought, tomorrow we collect ourselves again at the Good Friday service.

In the mean time, Dixie and I had our long put-off Thursday evening date: pizza, junk food, a couch, and two hours of NBC sitcoms.  Yes, incongruous.

My intention was for at least one of us to go to a Good Friday service (I hadn’t looked into whether there were any children’s programs at the multiple services in town).  It seemed like I would be going to St. George’s Anglican (my biannual tradition, it seems) for their service, but a miscommunication turned into an at-home Good Friday service with the kids.  At first I was bothered by this, because I foresaw a “service” with the kids as a futile endeavour, doomed to failure.  And I was right, to a degree–there is only so much that a 2-year-old and a 4-year-old in particular will pay attention to.  Plus, all the kids were cranky and whiny and disobedient most of the day.

That said, historically the kids have not participated in any sort of Good Friday anything, so it was a good thing to tell them the story again and provide a little context for the weekend.

We showed them an Easter video, then went to the dining room where they coloured some Easter-related pictures (we have tried desperately to avoid the bunnies and chocolate theme over the weekend–we did a chocolate egg hunt earlier in the week to get that out of the way).  I then told them the story of Jesus and his disciples in the garden, Jesus’ arrest, trial and crucifixion (using this).  

This was followed by the kids singing along to the Veggietales Easter album.  Here’s Madeline reading (!) the lyrics and singing along (although I’m pretty sure she knew most of the words already, but she loves reading, she says):

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And here’s Luke colouring:

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And here’s Olivia putting marker lids on her fingers:

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Then one further craft: three crosses made out of popsicle sticks, which we intend to put up somewhere in the yard.  I added the “This is the king of the Jews” sign to one of the crosses and Luke insisted that one of the crosses should have a sign with his name on it:

Three crosses

The morning reached a crescendo some time after this, when the two younger children were screaming at the tops of their lungs in anger over something , while Bob and Larry sang “I Know That My Redeemer Liveth” in the background.  It was kind of funny.

More pictures here.

And for lunch: poffertjes! Here’s a photo set of the preparation and consumption of poffertjes. They’re kind of like pancakes, but not. It was a tradition to have them for supper on my birthday. This was my first time making them myself.  Here’s the end product:

The end product

After lunch: naps, homework, relax.  Tonight: a game with Dixie maybe and sermon preparation.

What do you say on Easter Sunday?

I’m sitting at the desk in my (temporary) office at the church.  It’s messy.  I should clean it.  That would also clear out my head, I suspect.

I’m trying to work on the sermon for Easter Sunday, but the words aren’t coming.  Words seem to pop in my head just before I put head to pillow and I try to scribble some notes then, but by morning the inspiration–both in terms of ideas and ability to write–is gone.

What can I say on Easter Sunday?

“He is risen.”  For some that’s all that needs to be said.  For others, those three words may make no sense at all.  Who is risen?  And what do you mean by “risen”?  And what difference does it make?  What are you all getting so excited about?

“He is risen.”  If I speak veeeeeery slooooowly, perhaps I can stretch those three words into a twenty minute sermon.

What can I say on Easter Sunday that hasn’t been said before?

That’s the point, I guess.  Sundays are not about original material–learning something new–but about remembering (and worship, but even in worship we remember).  Easter Sunday is no exception.  Sure, we may each put our own unique spin on it, reveal some detail or angle that hasn’t been mentioned before–or probably has been mentioned, but long since forgotten.  But it’s the same story we tell.

And in remembering we are refreshed and renewed.

He died.  He was buried.  On the third day he was raised from the dead.

Seems like such a crazy thing to say in our day.  “Jesus isn’t dead; he’s alive.”  We are such an arrogant bunch, we 21st century-ers.  Those 1st century men were a little loopy–they would believe anything.  ‘Chronological snobbery’ is what C.S. Lewis apparently called it.

I don’t think we have it together anymore than they did back then.  These days some believe and some don’t.  In those days, some believed and some didn’t.

“People don’t rise from the dead.”  Well, that’s the point, isn’t it?  If rising from the dead were the norm, Jesus wouldn’t have been all that special.  “Jesus rose from the dead?  Big deal.  So did my Aunt Lillian.”

Of course, it’s because people rising from the dead is unusual that we have to ask some serious questions about the claim the church makes.  Are we all nuts?  Is what we have here a 2,000 year history of nutcases?  Some would think so.

Ah–but look at me: here I am sermonizing on my blog.  I better reserve something for Sunday morning.