I have errands to run this morning and afternoon, but I at least wanted to play the Friday Five. I'll try to get on later and get up some pics from the mission trip...
Well, the Clergy Superbowl is almost upon us, and so, I offer up this Friday Five (with apologies for the irreverent title):
1. Will this Sunday be Palms only, Passion only, or hyphenated?
Assuming this Easter will be like previous Easters in my congregation, there will be both. The palsm open the service and then we go through the rest of the passion (since most people don't attend services on Maundy Thursday or Good Friday, the next service they'll see is Easter morning).
2. Maundy Thursday Footwashing: Discuss.
I love it - I think anything experiential that can draw us into the story and the meaning of the Easter holiday and the ministry of Jesus is a good thing. I haven't ever experienced a foot washing in the Methodist Church - growing up in my particular Catholic congregation we always had a foot washing service for what we called Holy Thursday (I didn't know the word Maundy until I hung out with Methodists in college). I know there are people who have issues with smelly feet, ugly feet, dirty feet, etc. but that is EXACTLY the point! The way we did it, each person got their feet washed by someone, and then they sat down and became the washer for the next peron - we all got taken care of and served someone else. It was very powerful and an image of what Christians should be able to be for each other.
3. Share a particularly meaningful Good Friday worship experience.
When I was in college and under no illusions that I was not meant to stay in the Roman Catholic church, I was attending carious services with friends. I tried out several different churches - mostly Methodist since I attended a Methodist college - and had the comfort of knowing that anything I didn't understand, my friend could kind of walk me through and explain. Holy Week- Easter is just done very differently, and I was very surprised and moved enormously when I went to my first Good Friday service. The service was fairly "normal" feeling but things were in a different order with scripture readings spread out throughout the whole service. It ended with the story of the death of Jesus and suddenly, without any kind of warning, the lights went out and everyone walked out in silence. The people who went to church there knew it was coming - this was their annual tradition, but it was so powerful to me because it was a new way to experience it. I'm not sure I would ever do it this way in my own church, except for maybe once just to catch people off guard and really get them thinking about what it would have been like to be there. Theologically, I'm not so sure....
4. Easter Sunrise Services--choose one:
a) "Resurrection tradition par excellence!"
b) "Eh. As long as it's sunrise with coffee, I can live with it."
c) "[Yawn] Can't Jesus stay in the tomb just five more minutes, Mom?!?"
b) I used to love going to my sunrise service when I was working at 9-1-1 just because I usually worked until 7 am and couldn't make myself stay up long enough after work to go to church (our only service was at 10:30 and I was sawing logs by then). The sunrise service worked out perfectly on my way home from work and it seemed appropriate that the one service I could attend out of the year was Easter morning (some of the Catholic in me??). Now though, being in seminary I think makes me almost jaded on the whole thing - I know how much work goes into the planning and I study all of this stuff to the tiniest detail, so it's lost much of it's magic and emotional power. Church in general feels like more of an obligation now than it ever did. Isn't that horrible!??!? Still I like a sunrise service just because it's something different - I just don't know how my sleep schedule will work with all of the papers and projects due for seminary this time of year...
5. Complete this sentence: It just isn't Easter without...
EASTER EGGS! Those crazy colorful, pagan items just make it for me somehow. I don't know what the significance of it is - we didn't do egg hunts every year or anything like that - perhaps it just that I have a great excuse to be creative and have lots of hard boiled eggs to eat for the week following. This year, instead of buying a dye kit, I'm going to try doing it all natural, using fruit, veggies, and herbs to color my eggs. If you're interested in trying it, go to Wild Oats homepage for directions. They seem to bring out more subtle colors, it's something different, and I think it's cool to see what colors we can find in things direct from God's creation rather than processed chemicals.
Bonus: Any Easter Vigil aficionados out there? Please share.
My mom used to take us to Easter Vigil when I was growing up but I think I was too young (or apathetic) to understand the whole point. In seminary I've looked several times (for different classes) at the tradition of the Easter Vigil, particularly the way it's used as a time for baptism into the church and I think it's very powerful and could be really moving for everyone in a congregation. I just don't know any churches that really do it that way anymore.
Have an Easter story you want to share? A unique family tradition, or a suggestion for things to use to color my easter eggs this year? Leave a comment and let me know!