Friday, April 10, 2009

Easter Memories


easter service
Originally uploaded by CatalogThis
I have been thinking of the Easters of my past.

I remember as a kid in Indonesia feeling disappointed with Easter. It was supposed to be a big deal, but as a kid it felt like just a Sunday, and I always felt let down.

I do remember one year as a young kid... maybe second grade? It was an extremely spiritually sensitive year for me - I had constant questions about faith and God and the Bible. That year we watched the Jesus film, and when it got to the beatings and crucifixion, I fled the room crying, telling mom that He shouldn't die for me, I didn't deserve it. I wonder if she remembers that.

My mom tried hard to make sure we understood what Easter was all about. I remember one year instead of doing just an Easter egg hunt, we read through the passion story and identified things we could use to symbolize things from the story that were in our house (caleb made a crown, we used coins for Judas' betrayal, etc). Mom and dad hid them in the yard with the eggs and candy. When we got back inside we found baby matt had climbed onto the kitchen table and nabbed a chocolate bunny, and was absolutely covered in the melted remnants.

The first Easter I remember as being a personally sacred moment was when I was 12. We were in Pyramid for an SIL conference. I remember waking up and gathering with a handful of adults on a hill overlooking the Baliem valley and watching the sunrise... which wasn't very very stunning at all, but I felt the sacredness of the expectation and joy of the resurrection.

Sun shining through

Hours later, we all followed a trail into the valley to a stream/pig wallowing hole, and there Uncle Ken Schmidt baptized me in the cold water, alongside my mom, a teary Natalie, Nathan Briley, and Randall. I only just remembered that I was baptized on Easter when I was looking at a photo of it last week.

The next Easter I remember clearly was on my senior trip. We were in Timika (a copper mining town that has a major Western influence), staying at Iain's house. I remember all being piled into different rooms and a few of us organizing our own sunrise service. We woke up bleary-eyed and dragged ourselves out onto the asphalt street (couldn't sit in the middle of the street like that in the US!). We read the Easter story and and sang while Jon played the guitar, even though we were surrounded by jungle and couldn't see the actual sunrise. It was still precious.

I remember several Easters at Moody when our group of friends gathered Easter morning and walked to Oak street beach, where we sang acappella, read the Easter story, and watched the red sun rise over the water. Some downtown church had a beach-side service, so sometimes we would sit near them and listen to their service.

Sunrise, Chicago

Our last year in Chicago our church held a baptismal service at the Lake on Easter morning. It was so memorable - gathered there in the wind, watching our pastor almost get bowled over by the waves - he stopped dunking and started just holding each person up to meet the oncoming waves. It was so filled with joy - we laughed and cheered and cried.

baptism

I don't think I remember ANY Easter sermon. I mostly remember gathering sort of spontaneously with friends and family, reading the story, singing, and doing our best to remember and honor the atoning death and resurrection of our Savior.

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