First of all, Friday and Saturday I spent time with a wedding - the rehearsal on Friday and the wedding itself on Saturday. Saturday morning I wrote the homily. It was a "non church" wedding for a couple who I grew to know and love this year as I spent time with them in conversations about marriage. (pre marital counseling) It was the first marriage for the bride and the third for the groom. They have a toddler who they obviously adore. There is something that was sweet about all of it - the bride crying as she walked down the aisle, the groom transfixed by her beauty and the little boy running around. A wedding is about new beginnings and starting over and lifetime (hopefully) commitments. I did my usual talk about paying attention to the spiritual and God's presence in their lives and hope that they heard me.
I attended worship at Ascension Lutheran Church with Marnie, Reagan and Maggie. We sat in the back and had a whole pew to ourselves. Maggie was so cute and not shy at all and insisted that she participate in the children's sermon. Reagan is a champion big sister who - without complaint - left halfway through to change the baby's diapers. It is a blessing to sit with them at church. I felt like I was in and out of the service mentally as I watched the children all around me and it still was meaningful and good. I always felt that preparing for Easter was one of the hardest sermons because there were people who may only come once or twice a year. Now I realize how hard it is to really concentrate on the sermon when you are sitting in the pew. But the totality of the worship - the songs, the people, communion, flowers, prayers made it perfect for me.
We went to a brunch with Marnie's family afterward and got there early and were the first people to get our food. There is nothing as nice as that! I had prime rib, salmon, carrot cake, some great salad and a bloody Mary. Then came the Easter Bunny and Maggie went in for a hug immediately. After that she and Reagan went looking for Easter Eggs. It could not have been a lovelier day.
At the same time, I am aware that not everyone in my life - and certainly in the world - is experiencing this kind of Easter. My friend Susan's husband Ken has been in the hospital for two full weeks after surgery and has rehab ahead. Their "new normal" is going to be different in the future and I hold both of them in prayer. What I know is that we do go through "seasons" of our lives and right now they are suffering but surrounded by family and people who care about them. And I pray from Ohio and know that it matters.
I continue to be a woman of faith who knows that no matter what God is doing something with all of us - growing, healing, learning, strengthening, comforting, inspiring and most of all - surprising us with new life and hope no matter what.
Christ is risen - and my prayer is always for opennness to all the ways in which he continues to appear.