Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Still smiling

Our older daughter came home for Easter, and called in advance to see if she and I might attend an Easter service together.  This was QUITE amazing, as the two of us hadn't really attended church together since we moved to Shaw Island in 1996 (the community church on Shaw had no child care program, and she had no patience for sitting).

I hadn't actually been planning to attend an Easter service: I generally have the same prejudice about Christmas and Easter services that I had about best-sellers when I worked as a librarian: if everyone else is doing/reading this, I'm not really interested!
But we discovered that the older Episcopal church on the island was planning to hold a Great Vigil service on Saturday night, complete with bells and incense.  It didn't seem likely that it would be very crowded -- the Great Vigil is a LONG service with lots of long Bible readings and hymns -- so we decided to check it out. 

The Great Vigil (I should add) was at one point in my life my very favorite church service: back when I was in my early 30's and living in a college town, it included a bonfire, a procession, a very dramatic shift from light to dark (always timed to coincide with midnight) and then some liturgical dancing and a dessert feast afterward.  So it was truly a magical experience; sadly, no GV services I'd attended since that time ever really measured up.

... but this service tried, using many of the same elements, and we were both pleasantly surprised to find ourselves experiencing a significant uplifting of spirit as the evening wore on: by the time we were belting out "He is Risen, He is Risen" we were pretty much beaming at each other. 

Yes, we were outsiders; we didn't know a soul at the service, and clearly didn't know "the right way" to do stuff.  Yes, though we are both VERY knowledgeable about Christianity we are wary of its mythological components and the ways they have been used over the centuries to separate and exclude.  But there was this joyful sense of participating in a sort of universal Rite of Spring; a feeling of connectedness that continued to sparkle long after we had left the parking lot.

So, yes -- it was worth the trip! ... and I'm still smiling.

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