This Easter was the first Easter that I didn't spend in Regina with my family. Easter in Gatineau -in French- was very different. Not at all bad, just not at all similar to what I've known my whole life.
No service in the park. No "He is risen!" and the heartfelt "He is risen indeed" in response. No church breakfast at Karen and Adam's house. No "Up From the Grave He Arose".
Even though Christmas is a wonderful time when we celebrate the birth of Christ, Easter -the death and resurrection of our Lord- really is THE religious holiday. Without the craziness of the Christmas season, Easter seems to offer more time to be still and reflect.
More time to reflect on what Christ did for us, giving himself as payment for our sins. Time to ponder sin and death and life and love. Time to be thankful. Time to grieve.
My memories of Easters past are full of my dad.
He loved Easter.
Fridays were always spent preparing to serve dinner at Soul's Harbour (the local soup kitchen for which he'd been spokesperson for several years), on his feet all day slicing hams, mashing potatoes, buttering buns, and serving the city's hungry. And doing a mountain of dishes.
Saturday was spent in his Lazy Boy recliner, alternating heat and massage on his cramping hands and forearms. Or napping. And watching golf.
Sunday morning was always a scramble to get everyone out of bed, dressed, bundled up and out the door for the sunrise service in the park. Every year on the same little hill. A small group of believers, most of whom had known each other for years, huddled in the
The love and the joy of being together on Easter morning were clear each shining, shivering face. Gathered there together, we would listen as the story of that first Easter morning was retold.
And we would sing.
My dad had a lovely, strong baritone voice.
When I think of those sunrise Easter services on that little hill in the park, I can still hear his voice ringing out above the rest.
My dad loved Easter.
At Christmas, when Liam was especially missing his grandpa, we talked about how wonderful it must be to celebrate Jesus' birthday with Jesus. Imagine the celebration! But I believe the real party must be on Easter Sunday. Easter is the culmination of the story, of God's plan to redeem this fallen world. At Easter, we celebrate Christ's victory over sin, and death having been overcome. THAT is reason to celebrate.
I'm sure that my dad is loving it and that his voice is once again being lifted up in praise for our risen lord.
(But boy, do I ever miss him.)
I first heard this song on the radio a few weeks ago. I had to pull into a parking lot to bawl my eyes out and then take a few minutes to compose myself so I could drive the rest of the way home. It's Chris Tomlin's "I Will Rise". Take a few minutes to listen.
And be blessed.