Yes, it is Easter Sunday, and, for Christians all over the world, today is all about light and salvation. For my non-Christian disciples, I wish you all warmth, sunlight, and peace. After all, that's what it's all about, isn't it?
On Easter Sunday last year, I was visiting my sister in a nursing home. This was before she was diagnosed with lymphoma, when we all thought she would be walking out of that place on her own two legs. I remember sitting with her, watching TV. My family and I brought her some Dove chocolate eggs. She didn't eat them. She'd been throwing up all day.
I was talking to my wife this morning on the way to church. I told her that it still seems a little unreal to me--my sister being gone. I spent so much of my life with her over the last 17 years. She was my boss. She was my sister. I worked with her for eight to ten hours a day, five days a week. On weekends, I went out to eat with her. Birthday parties. Baptisms. First Communions. Christmases. Easters. We were with each other a lot.
My wife, sitting in the car beside me, nodded. "I know what you mean," she said.
I still look for her car when I go to work. Every once in a while, I think that I hear her voice singing in church when I'm playing the organ. Today, I think of her smile when we entered her room in the nursing home last year. I can still see her looking at my son (who was six at the time) and saying, "Happy Easter, little man!"
Yes, as a Christian, I believe in resurrection and salvation. I honestly believe that my sister is dancing with Jesus today. Celebrating with the angels.
That doesn't make me miss her any less.
Today's episode of Classic Saint Marty first aired around three years ago, on another Easter Sunday.
March 31, 2013: Easter
Christ is risen! Christ is risen indeed!
That was the greeting in church this morning. I was picking my way across an icy parking lot on my way to the Easter Sunrise service, and a gentleman I know called out to me, "Christ is risen!" Without missing a beat, I called back, "Christ is risen indeed!"
It's something I learned from the Methodist church. I don't recall ever hearing anyone using that particular exchange in the Catholic churches I attended as a child. I think it might sound a little too Pentecostal. Anything that even hints at arm raising and speaking in tongues is a little suspicious in Catholic circles. We're more of the candle-lighting, falling-asleep-in-the-pew brand of Christians.
One of my favorite things about Easter is the variety of worship services that take place during the week leading up to today. There's the dark and solemn (Good Friday). There's the procession from darkness to light (Easter Vigil). And then there's raucous and loud (Easter Sunday). There are many opportunities to feel the presence of the Holy Spirit during Holy Week.
The only problem is that I'm usually pretty tired come Easter Sunday afternoon. It's all the music and worship, late nights and early mornings. For instance, I got home from the Easter Vigil at around 11 p.m. last night. I got to bed around 12:30 a.m., and my alarm went off at 6:30 this morning. I was at church by 7:15 a.m. to get ready for the Easter Sunrise service at eight o'clock. This service, which I thought was going to be just left of disaster for various complicated reasons, turned out to be the most beautiful and meaningful. The readings, music, and message all rocked.
I've had a great Lenten/Easter season. Lots of surprising God moments. It's sort of been like today's weather. Cold and windy sometimes. Blue sky and sun right now. That's what it's all about. Periods of desert and periods of communion.
Christ is risen, Saint Marty. He's risen indeed.