A Small Town Easter

I know Easter can be wonderful in large cities, because I’ve enjoyed it in them at times. But our small town Easter this year topped them all for me.

Our Seder supper on Thursday night is becoming a real community event. We had more people stuffed into the fellowship hall at church than we could have imagined would fit. Lamb, eggs, unleavened bread, and bitter herbs were served, and foot washing by Jeff at one station and our city’s mayor at the other really moved the people who attended. Nothing seems to bring the message home like the visual participation of Maundy Thursday’s last supper.

Friday brought its somber note. Jeff borrowed a full sized cross (from the Baptist Church) and propped it in the sanctuary doorway, so that we entered under the shadow of the cross. We followed the last words of Christ and pondered their meaning.

I had to smile at the end of the service, though. Our congregation’s nature is not responsive to the bulletin note to “leave in silence.” We left the sanctuary in silence, but the fellowship hall buzzed with conversation. I glanced over at Jeff, and he just shrugged, chuckled, and joined in the chatter. People do feel the sober message of the service, but you can’t fool us–we know Sunday is coming!

On Saturday, the majority of the congregation gathered to give the church a good cleaning for Easter. Windows were washed, new gravel spread in the parking lot, and brass candleholders denuded of their layers of wax for the coming service. This year, we’re having a bumper crop of lilacs around town, and vases of them competed with the lilies in fragrance. You could feel the excitement building as everyone worked together in preparation.

On Sunday morning, the sanctuary looked and smelled like Easter. Jeff’s message was full of laughter and joy. A choir of 11 or 12 people led the amazing music of the day.  And the words of the lessons told us over and over: this is why we are here–this is what we believe to be true–we are safe and forgiven because of what happened at Easter.

A few years ago, God gathered 7-10 folks for worship at Peace. This Sunday, He brought 61 of us, and it felt like another miracle of the day. Many churches would close their doors if all they had was 61 folks, but for us, it was manna and blessing and great abundance.

Afterwards we ate together in the fellowship hall, in the sanctuary, out under the roofed gazebo in the yard. More talking–with guests camping in the area, with co-workers who responded to our invitations to come, with regular members, with folks from Bread of Life mission. A friend of mine who came for the first time with her daughter said, “There was peace at this service–I could feel it.” The sense of being part of a believing community strengthened the message of the day.

I close the story of this small town Easter with this photo of the front page of Friday’s newspaper. We laugh sometimes and shake our heads at things that happen in Holbrook that wouldn’t happen in a place more concerned about political correctness, but this year it felt like a perfect part of Easter. He is Risen, friends!

Holbrook's paper is very supportive of religious events, obviously.

Holbrook’s paper is very supportive of religious events, obviously.

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One response to this post.

  1. Posted by barbahrah on April 10, 2015 at 8:25 am

    Sounds like you had some very moving services in remembrance & celebration!!! Sorry we couldn’t be there to experience them as we were singing at ours. I like your Maundy Thursday tradition!!! 🙂 Thank you for sharing these events-it’s great to be a part of your celebrations in this way!! 🙂 ♥

    Reply

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