And my birthday .........I have been tired but happy but tired and kind of sick
but still happy.
This time last week I was preparing for our Maundy Thursday worship service which was, as always very meaningful. There was something that happened to many of us at the end as we sang the familiar words of "were you there" and came forward and placed a nail in the cross. There is something about the image of Jesus on the cross that speaks to me about God's love and the place of sacrifice in our faith that touches my soul in ways that words cannot express. The next day I was part of a group of northland clergy that participated in a "reader's theatre" of the passion of Jesus. And again that place was touched within me. What I know is that faith is a relationship with the one who "emptied himself" in order to show us that way of life. A life of self emptying and allowing and trusting God's spirit. And the end of Lent - the time at the cross speaks to me in a way that nothing else does about this essential message.
At the same time I was experiencing one of the best birthdays of my life. I turned 65 on Saturday and was determined to spend it in the way that gave me joy - and I did. My granddaughters alyse and addie spent the night on Friday. They are cousins and not siblings so instead of fighting they just talk and laugh and run and imagine together. And they played games with me which just gives me joy. They stayed up on Friday night until 1 AM talking and giggling in bed, but even that gave me joy in seeing them and pretending to be the stern Ogram.
Saturday we went to Camp Christian where I sang in a little Easter service for the free store population. We also brought 2 fishing poles and fished. As soon as I cast the first time I caught a fish and several more after that. Addie caught her first fish that day. More kids came and shared in the fishing with us and it was fun to watch them cooperate with each other in baiting hooks, sharing rods and removing the fish. after everyone left Addie, Alyse and I were alone at camp for about an hour. I just fished by myself and they ran and ran and ran all over camp exploring. What could be more fun for a 9 and an 11 year old. Before we left, we walked to vespers and the path there was lined with daffodils in bloom. Gorgeous.
that evening I went to my favorite restaurant - The Boat House (formerly the confluence). The service and food were mediocre but the view was wonderful as I got to watch the sun set and the lights of Columbus come on.
And the next day was Easter - with three services. The sunrise service was wonderful. We started at 6:30 in a circle outside in the garden. There were 23 of us and we began by telling the story of the events of holy week, placing items on the table - like palm leaves, money, bread and cup, linen cloths, etc. then a time of silence and the celebration of EASTER - and the sun was UP and we sang "Jesus Christ is Risen Today" and it was perfect. at the end I gave everyone a gladiola bulb for reflection on "new life" and then the opportunity to plant it in our "Easter Garden." It all worked as I had dreamed that it would and I felt blessed. The other services were also inspired and meaningful and the day in worship was good.
That afternoon the family and some friends came over for smoked turkey, cheesy potatoes and games. Fun for me - not just to play but to be in the presence of people I love who are with each other.
So, this Thursday, I am still in recovery - not from trauma - but from a blessed weekend. A cold came upon me yesterday and God is telling me to rest. And so, I shall.
I am awed by all of it. Worship that reminds me of who I am as a follower of Jesus. and birthday celebrations that keep me connected to the real joy of life with family and friends.
I am grateful. and tired.