Easter Sunday shouldn’t be a once-a-year celebration. Everything Christians believe rests on it.
However, in my church home (United Methodist denomination) each year at a special time we do celebrate the resurrection event that is a tenet of our faith.
We begin with Lent, 40 days before Easter. We are encouraged to make a (comparatively) small sacrifice or to adopt a new spiritual discipline to get in touch the tiniest bit with Jesus’ sacrifice and his last days on earth.
On Maundy Thursday, we gather to observe Holy Communion together, in remembrance of the Last Supper Jesus ate with his disciples. Recently, many churches have incorporated a Tennebrae service into this night. The young confirmands assist the pastor in stripping the altar area. The congregation watches soberly as the cross, the candles, the paraments, the Bible — even the offering plates — are carried out of the sanctuary and hidden. We leave in darkness and silence.
On Friday, there is a huge egg hunt in Daniel Park. Saturday finds the soccer fields full of children. Life is back to normal. Almost. Those who gathered on Thursday may still feel a little sad, unsettled, as if something is lost.
ON Sunday, we quietly enter the still-darkened sanctuary and take our seats. The faint aroma of lilies fills the room. Suddenly —
“CHRIST IS RISEN! HE IS RISEN INDEED!”
The organ and piano burst forth in a joyous Easter song as the altar and chancel area are restored. We sing together, we greet our brothers and sisters in Christ and wish each one the peace of God.
Christ the Lord is risen today! Alleluia!