I spent this past weekend trying to balance my academic obligations with the pull I felt to dive headfirst into the spiritual. After all, it was Easter weekend, the pinnacle of the Christian faith. Saturday night I attended the Vigil for the Resurrection, followed by the celebration service at Saint Anthony’s Greek Orthodox Church. It’s been so many months since I attended a service there and again, I was overwhelmed by the beauty and the peace that surrounded me as I listened to the chanting and meditated on the iconography. At the end of the vigil, just before midnight, they turn off all the lights. The priest brings out a single candle and slowly they begin passing the light. (Note to self: next time, have a candle.) Soon, the sanctuary is illuminated by hundreds of flickering candles, while the choir sings Christos Anesti…
Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and to those in the tombs, granting life.
I spent Sunday morning at my church here in Azusa, Foothill Church. I lifted my hands in grateful adoration as we sang of Christ’s forgiveness and sacrifice. Pastor Chris shared a beautiful message. I was surrounded by love and fellowship and coffee. Then I went to the nursery and spent the next two services with a roomful of toddlers… We read books. We smelled flowers. I got snotted on and and cried on and pooped on. We banged tambourines and sang Jesus Loves Me...
Jesus loves me, this I know. For the Bible tells me so. Little ones to him belong. They are weak, but he is strong.
Even though the services were so starkly different, I was amazed by the beauty and meaning in each one. Though we, as humans, may be restricted by our preferences, our taste, our habits or traditions, the Spirit of God surpasses all and encompasses all. God is as present in the priest’s chanted liturgy as he is in the toddler’s tambourine shake. The warmth of the Spirit is evident in both the flickering flame and the strum of the guitar.
As we celebrated and commemorated the bodily resurrection of the Christ, I was captivated by the beauty of his body here on earth. We have the ability to express ourselves in so many ways in order to show that truly we are his hands and feet resurrected, brought up from the ashes and the grave to reach out to a doubting, hurting world.
Come, feel my scars. See my pain. But know that I have been resurrected through the resurrected life of my Savior. I have been given new life here on earth.
Because Jesus loves me, he arose from the dead to grant me life.