I was driving down Rt 1 with a close friend yesterday, from which the picture to the right came. I didn’t recognize some of the most familiar terrain to me because it was so GREEN! There are so many possibilities of beauty and life when the resources are there. It’s like the earth was aching to explode with beauty at the first chance it got, and after years of anxiety from drought, we got it!
In a similar way, Easter is the first burst of life and beauty on the other side of Holy Week. This year Rev. Audrey asked me to write a liturgy for the 9:30 service to emphasize the Easter spirit, and thus it is our liturgy currently, alongside holding true to the Prayer Book for the 7:30 service.
I have done more memorial services than baptisms and marriages combined. Death is a very real and present companion. There is a strange comfort in walking with Jesus and his companions in Holy Week, even though the story of betrayal, torture, and death is anything but appealing.
The power of Easter is not that death is gone, but that Death is not the last word. This means that the suffering we feel from death is not wrong, not belittled; God suffers with us. That said, even when the powers of hate and fear try to stifle the best in us, Death can’t even hold that down. We celebrate in Easter the triumph of that love. In the death of Jesus, we have a story that leads us to deeper love and compassion for others, which leads to deeper, fuller, and more life.
My hope is that as you read this, you’ll consider what the liturgy has to say to you in this light, 7:30 and 9:30 alike. I also wonder what you have to say to it as well. I hope to learn what each rite does to help us think about our faith, our relationships, and our hope in the midst of even the most devastating losses. For ours is not a story of despair, but a story of love.
Rev. Jeffrey A. Dodge