Friday, April 9, 2010

the post that *I thought* I'd already posted Sunday night... oops.

Growing up, Easter was a time of egg decorating, horribly frilly, lacy, itching, non-tomboy-friendly new pretty dresses (*hi, mom!*), pastel coloured everything, pretty baskets full of that shiny plastic fake straw stuff that would be loaded with eggs, chocolates and small presents (we'd often get new kites) during our Easter egg hunt, eating ham and scalloped potatoes, and -of course- going to church. There was a huge city-wide Good Friday service (held in one of the biggest auditoriums in the city) that was organized in part by the Salvation Army. It was always PACKED with people in a scary-for-little-girls-kind-of-way, and it always seemed sooooo looooooong. Sunday morning we'd head to church for the Easter service.

As an adolescent/young adult, some things changed while others stayed the same. The Good Friday service remained a big part of the weekend, although I preferred some of the smaller, darker, more intimate services I attended. Eggs were still decorated and hunted most years, although there were new sets of little hands to do the work. And always there was ham and potatoes. 

The church my family attended since the 70's was the one my parents attended until my dad's death in 2008. Sadly, the church died the same year that he did... sad, but also kind of fitting. Even though the church shrank in size with each passing year until only a handful remained, there was no place I would have rather be on Easter morning. At that church, Good Friday meant preparing and serving a huge meal at a local soup kitchen, with my dad at the helm. Easter Sunday started bright and early with a sunrise service in a park not far from our church, followed by a pot luck breakfast at some of the members' house nearby, then another short, simple service at the church.

(I just went back and re-read my blog entry from this time last year and am now typing through tears.) 

Below is my description of those services:

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 often FREEZING chill air to celebrate our risen Lord. A group that maybe didn't know everyone else's secrets, but who knew each other well enough to know how much they were each loved.

The love and the joy of being together on Easter morning was clear in 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.

I don't know if it's something particular to western Canada, but at every church I ever attended Easter also meant being greeted with "He is risen!" which was always met with a chorus of "He is risen indeed!". Last year during our first Easter here in Gatineau, I really missed that.  It didn't quite seem like Easter without it. As I readied myself for church this Easter morning, thinking about how different Easter is now -out here, without my dad- I was feeling sad. I bit pouty. Near tears.

Not too celebratory.

And so, when a friend at church -a man who towers a good foot above me and outweighs me by about 80lbs- came and wrapped his big arms around me with a deep, rumbling "He is RISEN!", I felt the strong, loving arms of my Lord and felt the sweet joy of knowing I am loved. Without my saying a word, He knew my heart and knew I was hurting. And later during the services, when the worship team sang Hillsong's At the Cross (although in french) -the same song that we used in the video tribute to my dad- it was just another gentle reminder...

I am loved. And that Love was made real in the cross of Christ.

I am loved.

I'm going to post the At the Cross videos (in both languages) for anyone who isn't familiar with the song. It really is worth a listen. Before that though, here are some of the lyrics. Because I get shivers when I read them...

At the Cross

Oh Lord You've searched me
You know my ways
Even when I fail You
I know You love me

Your holy presence
Surrounding me
In every season
I know You love me
I know You love me

At the cross I bow my knee
Where Your blood was shed for me
There's no greater love than this
You have overcome the grave
Your Glory fills the highest place
What can separate me now?




  1. What a fabulous blog, Amy!! Isn't that just like our loving heavenly Father to know your heart and send someone to hug you and remind you of His love and the love of so many others for you. Great reminder to all of us!! Easter is the most significant date in the Christian calendar. You have so many wonderful memories of Easter....what a gift. Love, Mom/Mora

  2. This post brought tears to my eyes. There is definitely something missing in my life.


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