It seems strange, but today was my first Easter service in a Christian church.
For the last couple of years, I attended the Triduum services at S. Stephens, but would return to my UU church on Easter Sunday. I would spend three days in a dark, smokey church listening to Gregorian chant and endless scripture readings and never get the light at the end. And while the Easter services at Bell Street were soulful and moving, it wasn't the same as sitting in a church full of believers who were just as eager as I was to celebrate the resurrection.
Today was an amazing experience.
During my first Holy Week, two years ago, I didn't feel a sense of the resurrection until the following monday. After a grueling week of personal loss and spiritual despair, I was stunned to wake up on Monday morning with a big smile on my face and a clear sense that Jesus was back, baby.
Last year, that didn't seem to happen for weeks. In fact, I really don't remember a specific time when I got that giddy "Jesus has risen from the dead" kind of feeling at all. If it came, it was very subtle.
This year, I started to get an inkling of it even on Good Friday. I had intended, for example, to go to the evening service at S. Stephens after attending the afternoon vigil at Grace. But as the afternoon wore on, I felt like it was more important to stay home with my children and color Easter eggs. That, to me, was a tiny glimpse of the resurrection. By Saturday night, it was clear. I could feel it in the church. I felt joy inching it's way along the walls of my soul, even as I sat in the darkness waiting for the new fire to be lit.
Today was a full-on love fest. We sang the Hallelujah chorus and giddy hymns about Jesus kicking death's ass. We giggled at all the fancy hats and kids in their Easter best. We marveled at the thin clouds hanging in the crystal clear blue sky. I welled up at the sound of the church bells peeling in downtown Providence.
After church, we went to Nguyen's sister's house for the annual Easter meat-rampage and ate Vietnamese beef noodle soup and chicken wings, barbequed pork ribs, and yes, curried venison. I watched the kids and marveled at how fast they are growing. Noticed that my Sister's in law are getting more gray hairs. That I am plumper than last year. That my brother-in-law and husband look more alike when they are both sound asleep on the sofa.
And felt to the very core of my being that Jesus, the Christ, the Messiah,
is risen today.