He Is Risen, Alleluia, Alleluia

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The strife is o’er, the battle won, the Easter eggs have mostly been found. Alleluia!

Pictures from this morning’s festival Eucharist of Easter at St Columba have been posted on the new gallery photo pages for both parishes. More photos are being added so please stop by and vote for your favorites.

The New Fire was kindled last night outside the door of Holy Innocents, and the flames leapt up from the brazier and shone into the darkened sanctuary. The Paschal candle was lit, and then as the altar party processed through the door, light came into the church. Gradually, the light was passed from candle to candle held by all members of the congregation, and the first half of the service continued by candlelight.

The songs of exaltation were sung, the many readings were read, and in the end the Resurrection was proclaimed. All went away filled with spiritual food. As there was a reception after the service downstairs, everyone also went away filled with actual food, and there was even a cake shaped like a lamb.

At one point during a hymn there was a small disaster; the large Paschal candle fell off its stand to the floor with a crash. The music continued. After a short but intense pause, the people sitting closest to the spot moved quietly and purposefully into action, since the altar party were pretty far away and something needed to be done to make things right. One lifted the candle up carefully and tenderly and helped the acolytes fix it more securely into the stand. Others quickly swept up the broken glass (the candle was topped with a follower which shattered when it fell). They all did what needed to be done quietly and efficiently, like a well-rehearsed damage control team, and got things put right just before the music ended.

It seemed like a metaphor for when things go wrong; sometimes with even the most carefully choreographed plans, they will go awry… but someone quite unexpected will be there, see the need, and offer assistance. Aside from the loss of the follower, it was actually quite moving to witness.

There was much laughter and gladness after the service (and not a little relief from those of us in the choir), and jokes about various small disasters that have occurred during the Triduum. No one really took my suggestion seriously that we should make them all annual traditions, but they certainly made this year one to remember.

The Blessing Of The Easter Baskets: Gentlekids, Start Your Engines

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This morning’s festival Eucharist at St Columba was a joyful celebration; not only were the pews packed with people of all ages, there was an Easter egg hunt immediately after the service, all around the grounds of St Columba.

The service was conducted similar to a Family Mass – children were given jobs such as carrying a small processional cross (topped for the occasion with Easter lilies) or torches or the Gospel. Some children wore special robes, some did not. All helped make the Easter celebration special and fun.

At the end of the service, all the children were invited forward to have their Easter baskets blessed – some didn’t have baskets, but were given flowered fabric bags they could sling over one shoulder. There were one or two adults who also came forward to have baskets blessed. Then they were invited to join the procession out at the end of the service, which put them in “post position” at the door of the church, waiting for the checkered flag.

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The littler ones were allowed a head start, and then the larger ones were released to run around looking for one of 200 or so candy and plastic eggs that had been scattered and hidden all over the lawns and in the trees. All the children but one headed off in the same direction, and one little boy had the entire front lawn and all its candy to himself for a while until the others caught on. However, there were plenty of eggs for everybody. It turned out that the children with flowered bags had an advantage, because the eggs tended to bounce out of the baskets, causing their owners to have to stop and retrieve their lost candy. Still, nobody really came up short, and some were quite successful. According to some watchful and suspiciously knowledgeable adults, not all the eggs were found.

There’s always next year.


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