Sunday, March 23, 2008

Easter 2008

I’m not in “Church” this Easter Sunday morning.

First time ever in my whole life. Since birth. Since conception.

I started my life in my mother’s arms in the service. I graduated into the nursery for the next few Easters. Then into the services. Sometimes three in one day. Sunrise service, Morning Services and Services at night. I glued on the stone to the Sunday school paper, colored in the angel at the door, play acted the whole scene numerous times and sang with the children’s choir in the big service. I graduated to singing in the choir for Easter Cantatas, and special music. Husband was in a “Last Supper” reenactment and acted as the lead, Peter in “The Witness” by Barry McGuire while I was in the chorus. We went on from there to putting on our own very small services in our new church plant in Michigan. Then 20 years here where Easter services were downplayed as silly and almost pagan in nature.

So this morning, the first time out of an institutional church setting and wondering, really, what the day of Easter means to me, has been truly refreshing.

The question of the morning for me has been, “How does the resurrection of Jesus affect me this morning?”

And in the answer to that question comes a depth of the most incredible peace and contentment that I have ever felt.

He did it. He did it to completely eradicate the need for me to do anything more than return his love for me. He did it to free me to be able to love others. He did it to show me that he was who he said he was. He did it to reconcile me to the Father who longed for a relationship with me. He did it to abolish the rules of religion. All of them.

And for that, on this first Easter day where Church Lady is not in a chair or a pew, I am so grateful. I am at peace.

I think if I am ever involved in an institutional setting again of believers that I will refuse to go to a meeting on Easter.

Just to remind myself that He did it all. I can be at peace and full of gratefulness on this day where everyone else feels the need to do the “right” thing by going to see God at his house. I don’t need to.

Especially today of all days.

Happy Easter Everyone. He is Risen….I am free.


Erin said...

Thank you Barb. That was beautiful, and I agree completely. I'm spending Easter looking out at the ocean and realizing that as vast and infinite and powerful it is, it pales in comparison with my God.

Jennifer @ Conversion Diary said...

Happy Easter!

May God continue to fill your life with His love and peace.

Fred Shope said...

Happy Easter! I did something quite the opposite. Friday, we went to an interfaith Stations of the Cross service, Saturday we went to a vigil at an Episcopal church. This morning we went to a sunrise service at an Associated Reformed Presbyterian church, and a 10:00 service at a PCA church. I really enjoy seeing how different traditions celebrate.

The important thing is that we celebrate the Resurrection, whether in a church setting or not.

Actually you did "see God at his house", because you are the temple of the holy Spirit.

Anonymous said...

This brought tears to my eyes. Mostly because I completely understand, relate, and agree.

Just this past Friday, a good buddy of mine with whom I have breakfast each week was sharing with me his thoughts on what the cross and the resurrection all mean to him. It was Easter Sunday two years ago that he finished out his tenure as an associate pastor and stepped out of institutional church completely. (I've been out for about four years now.)

We both commented on how Easter isn't even really that significant anymore because we live in an awareness of the resurrection and the life that is ours because of it. It almost seems silly to devote one day of the year to it when it has significance every day of our lives. Know what I mean?

So today was pretty much like all the other Sundays of my year. Except for the dinner with extended family at my in-laws' house, that is! ;)

Mary said...

This is a great Easter post. I'm thankful to be sharing in what you are learning.

We spent Easter with my parents (who are unbelievers); something we were often too busy to do because of Easter church services.

Barb said...

Erin, could you just leave a comment every day to remind me that you are seeing the ocean!! I'm so jealous.

Jennifer, thanks so much. I can't wait to follow in reading your journey.

Steve, It does become very personal without all the stuff that we did. I know for me it was precious today. And we did have a big dinner with about 25 friends and family. It was so much fun.

Mary, It would have been interesting to see what people did today who have stepped out (or been pushed out) of fellowship. I'm glad you got time with your parents. That will be a good memory.

Anonymous said...

My Easter was spent away from family and other followers of Jesus. In some ways, this was quite sad because I truly miss them when away. But I had spent a very busy week in Africa and then went to Stockholm, Sweden over the weekend. I thought about, actually Googled English language churches in Stockhom. However, I decided to just spend time alone with Father. It is cold and snowing in Stockholm but as I was walking through the old city the church bells did ring out Risen, Risen, Risen! Risen and Free, what more could one ask for?