Just so you know, my Sunday Snog today is over at Blisse Kiss
“Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him.
Easter Sunday, hurray! I’m looking forward to eating my Easter eggs, I really am but I love Easter because it is the very heart of what I believe in as a Christian. No preaching, here, I promise, just me, reminiscing and smiling and being giddy and joyful because, it’s the day for it.
I’ve always loved Easter but as a kid that had more to do with the eggs I think. In fact I think I got my real, deep spiritual love for Holy Week and Easter at Dehon. It was a Catholic Youth Retreat centre and I started visiting when I was 17 and went for my last Dehon Easter when I was around 21/22 I think.
So, essentially we went through the various catholic masses for holy week but in really unique ways. We were allowed to let our imaginations run wild. We had the escape from Egypt to the A Team theme music, we had resurrection Challenge Anneka,A huge model viking boat, cold waters and hair dryers to signify paradise for the renewal of baptismal vows.
We brought out the bread and the wine for communion to songs like ‘Be our guest’ and ‘I feel good’. One year we crucified a blue haired Jesus (no blue haired guys were harmed in the passion play) we hammered nails into a huge wooden cross, we wrote poetry, sang songs (with and without actions) and danced.
It was amazing. We would live the Easter story each year and each year I would find something new, understand something else or see something differently.
Over the years I tried everything, but my favourite group to be in was the group preparing the chapel for the big Easter Saturday celebration. Yeah, we started late, and finished in the early hours, we knew how to party. In fact, one year I stayed up all night and saw the sunrise!
Yeah, I used to love dressing the chapel with flowers and posters, and sculptures and material and all kinds of wacky and brilliant things. It was a great way to build up the anticipation.
We’d start that particular mass in the dark. One year they read this poem as we gathered in the darkness.
Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.
Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message He Is Dead,
Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.
He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last for ever: I was wrong.
The stars are not wanted now: put out every one;
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun;
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood.
For nothing now can ever come to any good.
And then lit one candle.
We’d then look at the passover and we’d escape from Egyptians through the red sea at the end of all that we’d find a bonfire and the pascal candle would be lit from that and then baby, that’s when it got good.
We’d be led to an empty tomb and then events would go crazy. One particular year I remember being taken to the same place we’d buried Jesus the day before and it was open, the white grave clothes were ruffled and it was very definitely empty.
A group of kids came up and looked, then they just kinda huddled and whispered amongst themselves. It was a little awkward at first as it seemed that maybe they’d forgotten what they were doing…but then a girl squealed, and they hugged and they ran into the crowd and hugged others and soon you could hear people exclaiming “He’s alive!” and laughing and hugging and it was just the biggest buzz, we all grinned like loons, danced for joy and hugged and hugged.
Now I lose track of how things went, there was the recreation of creation -psychedelic flowers did that one year (no, really) and the renewal of baptismal vows and it would all build towards going to the chapel for communion.
Now, one of the intense things about Good Friday was that all crosses, all icons, all pictures were taken down. Everything looked so bare and sad. When you went into the chapel on Good Friday it was an empty shell…and I felt like an empty vessel myself. So walking in on that Easter Saturday Night (normally it’d be going on/past midnight) and seeing all the pics and crosses back and the flowers and decorations was a gasp and exclamation moment. I can feel it now, my heart leaping with happiness.
This Easter, I won’t be staying up all night, I won’t be chased by angry Egyptians, or dip my feet in cold water, or be serenaded by dancing flowers. I won’t do any of that but I will smile and I will laugh and I will hug. I will exclaim with deep joy that He is Risen indeed.
Happy Easter to you all and remember Jesus loves us all, every single one of us and don’t let anyone tell you differently. He loves you, he loves me and he loves us just as we are – He made us this way.