Christ is Risen! He is risen, indeed.
Sometimes, during Holy Week, it's easy to get caught up in all of the details of all the things that need to happen. I know that was true for me this year, more true than ever, actually, since last year the Senior Pastor I served with for many years retired. Even though there is an interim senior pastor, it fell to me to consider many of the details of the worship services for the week. I spent more time than I had before doing things like proofing bulletins, connecting with our music people, contacting readings (and our sign language interpreter). In fact, I had a hard time concentrating on my sermons unless I was at home.
Our Easter Vigil service is a small one, but we had a baptism again this year, and I found out that I was going to be totally in charge of the service, for the first time ever. It was fun doing the baptism instruction for the adult woman who had not ever been baptized before, to talk together about the Christian faith and Luther's unique slant on it.
Between worship planning sessions, I did get a chance to visit some of the shut ins, something I really enjoy.
So, Maundy Thursday arrived, with the service of Holy Communion and the stripping of the altar. The music minister and another choir member sang a fantastic, moving version of Psalm 22 at the close of the service. We left in silence.
I saw that the message light was on for my phone. When I checked my messages, I thought I was hearing about a parish member who was entering the hospital.
But it turns out that he had died that evening.
It was such a surprise to me that I gasped when I heard it. I knew that his health had been declining, but I just couldn't imagine the world without him in it. Selfishly, I considered this man one of my cheerleaders in the congregation.
Between Good Friday services, we got news that another long-time member of the church had a massive stroke and was not expected to live.
She died on Saturday.
She was a good friend to many, even to my mother-in-law.
This Easter, my heart hurts.
Christ is risen, indeed.
We sang Alleluia and proclaimed the victory of Christ over the powers of sin, death and the devil this morning. I got a hug from a young man just beginning to wear braces. I saw babies smiling to the music. I saw two women crying in the back pew at the early service. I saw two children standing fascinated and watching and listening to the bells playing. I heard so many strong voices saying together the Nicene Creed. I saw friends and strangers, all beautiful, just because God said so.
And even though my heart hurts,
Christ is risen indeed.