Good morning, everyone!
“Exuberance” is the only word I could think of that adequately described yesterday’s Easter service at the Methodist church I attend in LaConner. The place was packed, many of whom were scattered family members who made use of the Easter holiday to get together. One newer member celebrated her 70th birthday on Easter Sunday, her daughter and family all there to participate in the double celebration. The raised voices, singing some of the church’s finest hymns and choral pieces, the sounds of the two trumpets and organ heralding the news of the Risen Christ and the message of the triumph of light over dark, of life over death, and the engaging sermon featuring Mary Magdalene’s prominence in the Easter story, all contributed to the heightened energy I was feeling which seemed to have nothing to do with any textual questions regarding Jesus’ Physical resurrection. The worshippers seemed way beyond that issue, claiming something bigger. There is more to life then meets the eye. The “exuberance” I felt was the cry of Victory! I was totally impressed and would not have missed it for the world. Several of male friends actually put on ties and suit coats for the occasion.One confessed he hadn’t worn a tie for years. That they did, speaks to something special about the day, yes, and the time.
As I reflected on Sunday morning, I realized that there, right under my nose, something else was happening within the context of the Easter celebration. In one instance it was the heroism of two husbands who had wheeled their invalid wives, both of whom were recovering from major strokes, into the church. This was impressive enough, men seeing to it that their wives could worship with others, but when I began to think of all the preparation necessary just to get there (one husband estimated that it took him almost 4 hours to prepare for the short excursion) my esteem shot up a hundred fold. Add to it, the daily care, the constant lifting and moving, cleaning and cooking, and you’re into realm, a sacred realm, with opportunities to express love for the other in ways that were never envisioned. The other heroic act I encountered was that of a young father carrying for his special-needs daughter. While his wife and 3 other children are upstairs worshipping, singing and praising, he’s downstairs, off to the side, feeding his 4 year old daughter who, unable to swallow or digest, must be fed every 4 hours through a tube directly to her stomach. Furthermore, the formula must be exact, 11 ounces of water and ingredients carefully selected and proportioned. I stayed the with him as he tried to get the sound to the earphones his daughter usually wears as she watches animated films on the small screen attached to her electric wheel chair. The singing from above drew me back to the sanctuary after a few minutes. Upon reflection, I wish now I had stayed there with the young father, maybe even reading him the day’s scripture from Mark 14 and John 20. In the process, though, I’d discovered the third hero of my morning, like the other two, manning a wheelchair.
My day ended with a wonderful Easter dinner in the afternoon with my young friend Chelsea and her 3 yer old daughter, Aisling ,at her parent’s home in Stanwood. Jim’s baked salmon and Mary Pat’s touches with the rice and asparagus were just right. Chelsea’s dessert, a wonderfully rich muffin with a coconut-cream cheese topping, rounded out the meal in splendid holiday fashion. I enjoyed myself immensely, even braving the chilly breeze to hunt for Easter eggs outside with Aisling. We had a good time talking about my experience with Karaoke and Music, one of their loves.
So it was. My day had begun with music, trumpets blaring, and ended with music, a CD of Raul Malo’s wide-ranging voice, one of Jim’s favorites. Altogether a splendid day, with lessons to be learned throughout, on the journey home.
Love always, Bob